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Rules of Verbal Self Defense

Introduction

One major aspect of programming is creativity. And it used to be a really creative job for the most part of previous century. But IT radically changed during the last decade and especially the last five years.  From a very nice environment with a lot of talented people it became an environment dominated by fear of outsourcing/offshoring populated with toxic managers, especially micromanagers and infected with high level of stress.

Entry-level wages of recent college graduates fell in the early and mid-1990s and have only recently returned to their pre-recession 1989 level (see the November 10 Snapshot). Wage offers (in 1998 dollars) to all recent college graduates started falling in 1985 and plummeted $3,414, or 9.8%, from 1989 to 1995. Although this decline finally began to reverse in 1997, when the low unemployment levels precipitated a rapid up-tick of $4,600 in wage offers to college graduates, it was not until 1999 that the offers exceeded their 1985 level. (Incidentally, it should be noted that these data on wage offers exaggerate the recent growth in actual wages paid, since a recent graduate with several exceptional offers gets counted for each offer, not just the one accepted).

This pattern, perhaps surprisingly, is the same for wage offers to students who accepted jobs in the computer science field. Entry level wage offers peaked in 1986 at $39,005 (in 1998 dollars), fell to $36,321 in 1989, and bottomed out at just $33,434 in 1994. Thus, employer wage offers to computer science employees fell 14%, or $5,571, from 1986 to 1994. Wage offers in computer science have bounced back, particularly since 1997, but it was not until 1998 that employer wage offers for computer science personnel returned to their prior peak in 1986. It should not be surprising, then, that enrollment in computer science programs declined in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

According to Paul Craig Roberts in 2004, nationally, enrollments in computer science and computer engineering are down 23 percent this year. At MIT, the premier engineering school, enrollment in electrical engineering and computer science has fallen 33 percent in two years. The New York Times (March 1) reported that even MIT’s best graduates are abandoning their computer engineering profession for investment banking. Presidents and deans of engineering schools are expressing concerns that engineering education has no future in America.

John Mashey, current custodian of the California "UNIX" license plate, presented an overview of where computer technology appears to be heading in 1999 Usenix conference.  He compared us with people standing on the shore when a large wave comes rushing in to crash over us.

Mashey began with a definition of the term "infrastress," a word that he made up by combining "infrastructure" and "stress." You experience infrastress when computing subsystems and usage change more quickly than the underlying infrastructure can change to keep up. The symptoms include bottlenecks, workarounds, and instability.

We all know that computer technology is growing: disk capacities, CPU speeds, RAM capacity constantly increase. But we need to understand how those technologies interact, especially if the growth rates are not parallel. The audience looked at a lot of log charts to understand this. For instance, on a log chart we could clearly see that CPU speed was faster than DRAM access times.

Most (all?) computer textbooks teach that a memory access is roughly equivalent to a CPU instruction. But with new technologies the reality is that a memory operation, like a cache miss, may cost you 100 CPU instructions. The gap between CPU and disk latency is even worse. Disk capacity and latency is another area where two technologies are growing at different rates. Disk capacity is growing at a faster rate than disk-access time decline. We are packing in a lot more data, but our ability to read it back is not speeding up at the same rate. This is a big concern for backups. Mashey suggested that we may need to move from tape backups to other techniques. One interesting side comment had to do with digital cameras and backups. Virtually everyone in attendance probably has to deal with backups at work. Yet how many people bother with backups at home? Probably very few, since most people don't generate that much data on their home systems. Yet the proliferation of digital cameras, we can expect that home computer systems are going to become filled with many gigabytes of irreplaceable data in the form of family snapshots and photo albums. Easy and reliable backup systems are going to be needed to handle this.

The slides for this talk are available at < http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix99/>.


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 05, 2020] Procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions

Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination also involves a degree of self-deception : At some level, procrastinators are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires even greater effort than completing the task in front of them. Contents ..."
"... When people procrastinate, their present self benefits by avoiding unpleasant work, but their future self pays the price in stress or punishment . Developing empathy for one's future self as one would for a close friend, then, can be an important first step to ending the habit, because we're less willing to put a good friend in such a disadvantaged position ..."
Aug 05, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Everyone puts things off sometimes, but procrastinators chronically avoid difficult tasks and may deliberately look for distractions. Procrastination tends to reflect a person's struggles with self-control . For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, "I don't feel like it" comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities, and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.

Procrastination also involves a degree of self-deception : At some level, procrastinators are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires even greater effort than completing the task in front of them. Contents

Understanding Procrastination

Procrastinators are often perfectionists , for whom it may be psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a job than to face the possibility of not doing it well. They may be so highly concerned about what others will think of them that they put their futures at risk to avoid judgment.

Some procrastinators contend that they perform better under pressure, but while they may be able to convince themselves of that, research shows it is generally not the case; instead, they may make a habit of last-minute work to experience the rush of euphoria at seemingly having overcome the odds.

Why do I procrastinate?

Procrastination is driven by a variety of thoughts and habits but fundamentally, we avoid tasks or put them off because we do not believe we'll enjoy doing them , and want to avoid making ourselves unhappy, or we fear that we won't do them well. People may also procrastinate when they are confused by the complexity of a task (such as filing one's taxes) or when they're overly distracted or fatigued.

What are the psychological roots of procrastination?

Psychologists have identified various drivers of procrastination, from low self-confidence to anxiety , a lack of structure, and, simply, an inability to motivate oneself to complete unpleasant tasks. Research has also shown that procrastination is closely linked to rumination , or becoming fixated on negative thoughts.

Does procrastination serve any purpose? Why are we so sure we'll actually do something later? Who is most likely to procrastinate? Why do teens procrastinate? The Consequences of Procrastination

Procrastination may relieve pressure in the moment, but it can have steep emotional, physical, and practical costs. Students who routinely procrastinate tend to get lower grades, workers who procrastinate produce lower-quality work, and in general, habitual procrastinators can experience reduced well-being in the form of insomnia or immune system and gastrointestinal disturbance. Procrastination can also jeopardize both personal and professional relationships.

... ... ...

How can I stop procrastinating?

Studies based on The Procrastination at Work Scale, which identifies 12 common forms of workplace procrastination, have highlighted some potential solutions, such as adopting timelines that build in time for delay, but not too much ; making a personal challenge out of mundane tasks; breaking large jobs into achievable chunks you can celebrate completing; and limiting your access to online news and social media.

How can a procrastinator change their mindset?

When people procrastinate, their present self benefits by avoiding unpleasant work, but their future self pays the price in stress or punishment . Developing empathy for one's future self as one would for a close friend, then, can be an important first step to ending the habit, because we're less willing to put a good friend in such a disadvantaged position.

... ... ...

[Aug 05, 2020] Having Trouble Getting Started

Notable quotes:
"... Any progress is progress . ..."
"... You Don't Have to Like It -- Just Do It ..."
"... Break Tasks into Smaller, Right-Sized Chunks ..."
"... Don't get stuck in fear or trying to make it perfect. ..."
"... Think Ahead; Create an If-Then Plan. ..."
"... Invest in Your Well-Being as You Progress. ..."
Aug 05, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

7 Practical Strategies to Get Unstuck, Get Started, and Stay on Track

1. Any progress is progress . Wrap your brain around the idea that even minimal progress toward a goal, can help you get unstuck and begin forward momentum toward achieving it. Choose one small piece of the goal and get started. Start with low hanging fruit -- a task that seems easier to begin with. Even small bits of progress toward a goal can enliven you to feel more positive about the objective and your potential (Sheldon, 2004). And then these small steps -- one by one -- begin to add momentum toward your objective.

2. Just Start. Once you begin the task you will often discover it's not as "bad" as you'd anticipated or feared. Sometimes, once you begin, you might wish you'd started sooner creating more time to work. Taking one small step at a time gets the ball rolling down the hill toward completion and accomplishment.

For example, Fred has a project that's due in one week. He feels stuck and is avoiding the project. Finally, he gets unstuck by taking just the first step.

3. You Don't Have to Like It -- Just Do It . To achieve a goal, your current level of motivation does not have to be high. "We can do something even if we don't feel like it" (Pychyl, 2010). Just beginning the task can positively shift your motivation and attitude.

4. Break Tasks into Smaller, Right-Sized Chunks . Get a reasonable understanding of what's needed to complete the task effectively and on time. Chunk the steps by making a list of what needs to be done to reach your target.

As you break the task into small, manageable, reasonable steps -- be honest about with yourself about what you can accomplish in a particular time frame. Allow yourself relaxation and rewards as you complete steps. Keep track of your progress and adjust tasks and your commitments as needed.

5. Don't get stuck in fear or trying to make it perfect. Remind yourself to be reasonable about what you expect from yourself, others, and the situation (Brown University, 2008). Gently offer yourself kindness and self-compassion -- remember you are human as we all are (Neff, 2011).

6. Think Ahead; Create an If-Then Plan. Prepare ahead for what you'll do when the going gets tough (Legrand, Bieleke, Gollwitzer & Mignon, 2017; Oettingen & Gollwitzer, 2010).). An if-then plan can stimulate your capacity to overcome challenges and shift "I can't" and "I don't want to" toward "I can" and "Yes, I am."

Automatic contingencies like these examples can help in many situations:

7. Invest in Your Well-Being as You Progress. Remember that your most valuable asset is yourself, so invest some time and energy for self-care to refresh and renew. Renowned leadership expert Stephen Covey (2003) had a wonderful term for this renewal that he called "sharpening the saw." Taking some time to care for your own well-being can pay off big time to help yourself get unstuck, get started, and stay on track. For example, pay attention to getting adequate sleep and exercise, eating healthfully, and pausing for a bit of mindfulness / meditation (Walker, 2017; Green, 2002).

This post is for educational purposes and should not substitute for psychotherapy with a qualified professional.

References

[Aug 05, 2020] Procrastivity (a.k.a. Sneaky Avoidance) and Adult ADHD Coping (Part 1) by J. Russell Ramsay

Highly recommended!
Procrastivity tasks are tasks that are uses as a replacement/displacement for critical tasks. Often this is compulsive browsing the WEB. or engaging in Internet chat or similar social sites related activites.
Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination has been deemed the quintessential self-regulatory failure -- putting off tasks despite knowing you will be worse off as a consequence. ..."
"... Procrastivity is a way to gain smaller-sooner comfort by getting something done, but at the cost of the larger-later and often more important payoff from finishing the priority task. ..."
"... Everyone -- ADHD or not -- puts off tasks, including via procrastivity. Adults with ADHD, though, are at greater risk for experiencing more significant negative effects and impairments from it. ..."
"... But what is it about these procrastivity tasks that make them magically more enticing than the priority tasks? The laundry and yard work themselves likely had been objects of procrastination before. Why the motivation to do them now? ..."
"... Compared with priority tasks, procrastivity tasks have the following features: ..."
"... They tend to be manual or "hands on" ..."
"... They offer a familiar script of onboarding steps for getting started ..."
"... There is a clearer sense of making and maintaining progress ..."
"... There is a clear end point ..."
"... Even in cases of a clear deadline, such as for homework or taxes, there is uncertainty about how much progress will be made during the time spent on the priority task, which opens the door for escape to a task with greater certainty. ..."
"... In fact, many people are willing to devote more time and energy to a procrastivity task than to the priority task because the certainty of the outcome is more desirable to one's sense of efficacy, the belief that one can do it. Thus, two hours of yard work is preferable to 45 minutes working on taxes. ..."
"... Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions ..."
Jul 16, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Part 1: Lessons learned that can help you turn procrastination against itself

Procrastination has been deemed the quintessential self-regulatory failure -- putting off tasks despite knowing you will be worse off as a consequence. 1

Seeing as ADHD itself is a developmental problem of self-dysregulation -- a chronic, persistent delay in the acquisition and employment of the foundational self-regulatory capacities, known as the executive functions -- it is no surprise that procrastination is among, if not the most commonly cited presenting problem faced by adults with ADHD seeking treatment.

Procrastivity is a sneaky form of procrastination, a sort of Trojan horse of avoidance. Also known as productive procrastination, procrastivity is defined as putting off one's priority task to escape to a lower priority, but still productive task. 2 Procrastivity is at play when a college student is suddenly driven to do laundry rather than writing a paper, or mowing the lawn is more important than working on income taxes.

Procrastivity is a way to gain smaller-sooner comfort by getting something done, but at the cost of the larger-later and often more important payoff from finishing the priority task.

Getting ready to get ready is not doing! Source: Russell Ramsay

Everyone -- ADHD or not -- puts off tasks, including via procrastivity. Adults with ADHD, though, are at greater risk for experiencing more significant negative effects and impairments from it.

But what is it about these procrastivity tasks that make them magically more enticing than the priority tasks? The laundry and yard work themselves likely had been objects of procrastination before. Why the motivation to do them now?

A reverse engineering of procrastivity and the nature of the tasks used to avoid higher priorities offer some important lessons about their particular features. In turn, these lessons can be co-opted and used to increase the ability to stay on track with the more important, high-priority tasks.

Compared with priority tasks, procrastivity tasks have the following features:

  1. They tend to be manual or "hands on": Procrastivity tasks tend to be more manual or hands-on than priority tasks. Priority tasks, on the other hand, are more mentally challenging, exacting greater cognitive load, such as administrative tasks, writing, homework, and many others. Even among these intellectual tasks, such as different homework assignments, there is a personal rock-paper-scissors algorithm of difficulty, such as "writing is harder than reading" and "reading is harder than a problem set."
  2. They offer a familiar script of onboarding steps for getting started: For the procrastivity steps mentioned above, laundry and mowing the lawn, there is a clear, well-rehearsed set of steps to perform for getting started that is viewed as more "doable" than the higher priority task. This makes getting started on those tasks easier and probably fuels justifications for escape in the form of the thought "I'll do this other thing first, then I'll me 'in the mood' for the priority task." (Have you ever really been "in the mood" for laundry or taxes?)
  3. There is a clearer sense of making and maintaining progress: With procrastivity tasks, you can see the laundry and lawn getting done with a corresponding decrease in the amount of time and effort remaining, a countdown until the task is done. With most priority tasks, more than one work session is required, such as writing a paper or completing taxes, and there is a possibility of surprises or difficulties with the task that could conceivably end up taking more time and effort than was originally anticipated. At the very least, this uncertainty creates a feeling of discomfort that is strong enough to nudge a person towards the procrastivity task -- often even despite knowing that they are procrastinating. (Although not a true emotion, I've used the description of "ugh" as the discomforting feeling associated with that uncertainty. 3 )
  4. There is a clear end point: There is a clear stopping point with most procrastivity tasks at the job is completed and off the to-do list. This fact comes with a visceral sense of satisfaction of task completion, even with chores and other administrative matters. This positive feeling is underestimated despite the fact that procrastivity tasks are not the most existentially fulfilling matters. It feels good to get things done. Due to the vagaries and uncertainties inherent in many priority tasks, it is difficult to determine an exact end point that one is confident can be reached, at least compared to that offered by the procrastivity task.

Even in cases of a clear deadline, such as for homework or taxes, there is uncertainty about how much progress will be made during the time spent on the priority task, which opens the door for escape to a task with greater certainty.

In fact, many people are willing to devote more time and energy to a procrastivity task than to the priority task because the certainty of the outcome is more desirable to one's sense of efficacy, the belief that one can do it. Thus, two hours of yard work is preferable to 45 minutes working on taxes.

So, how are these lessons repurposed to help stay on track with priorities?

Part 2 of this blog will focus on turning these characteristics of procrastivity into coping strategies that you can "do" to increase the likelihood that you can more often and more effectively initiate and follow through on personally-relevant objectives, or, said simply, turn your intentions into actions.

References

  1. Steel, P. (2011). The procrastination equation . Harper Collins.
  2. Procrastivity. (n.d.). In Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=procrastivity Getting ready to get ready is not doing! Source: Russell Ramsay
  3. Ramsay, J. R. (2020). Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions . American Psychological Association.

[Aug 02, 2020] Procrastivity (or Sneaky Avoidance) and Adult ADHD Coping(Part 2) by J. Russell Ramsay

Notable quotes:
"... procrastivity – a form of procrastination defined as putting off one's priority task by escaping to a lower priority, but still productive task ..."
"... Make the task more manual and actionable, at the very least for getting started ..."
"... Script out the initial onboarding steps for engagement ..."
"... Create a "bounded task" plan with a start- and end-time ..."
"... Creating a "bounded task" plan is akin to defining the other end of the swimming pool so that we can allocate our efforts to reach an end point. The ideal is to set an appointment for a task with a reasonable, minimal time frame and a specific clock time, such as "At 9 a.m. on Saturday, I'll spend at least 30 minutes on my tax plan, ending at 9:30 a.m." ..."
"... However, particularly for adults with ADHD, if they would have set out to work that long, they would have been at risk for thoughts and feelings related to the idea "I'm not up for this right now" or "I'm not in the mood to work that long" and have abandoned the plan before starting. In fact, a recent study indicated that knowing in advance when a neuropsychological test would end resulted in better performance compared with those who were not told ..."
"... Define a minimal, achievable task objective that provides a target for completion ..."
"... We often underestimate the positive feeling associated with getting things done, even the "have-to" tasks of life ..."
Jul 26, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Part 2: Coping tips for turning intentions into actions.

Part 1 of this discussion focused on the reverse engineering of procrastivity – a form of procrastination defined as putting off one's priority task by escaping to a lower priority, but still productive task . 1 In that earlier post I outlined, the elements of these escape tasks that make them more desirable, at least when facing a more challenging priority task, particularly for adults with ADHD .

Part 2 focuses on taking these elements and re-purposing them to overcome procrastination. The tips listed below can be used to get jump started and increase the likelihood of getting engaged with something that you want to do rather than succumbing to procrastivity or other forms of ill-advised avoidance:

1) Make the task more manual and actionable, at the very least for getting started : Procrastivity tasks tend to more manual or hands-on, such as mowing the lawn versus working on taxes. What's more, tasks that are framed in broad, non-specific ways, such as "do taxes," "do homework," or "exercise" run the risk of laying bare ambivalence and discomforts associated with them along with now facing the question, "Where do I start?"

Thus, a way to increase the odds of getting started on the priority task is to define the smallest, actionable step that answers the "Where do I start? question. More important is to frame it is behavioral, "doable" terms that somehow force you to "touch" the task.

Most often, this step is not anything productive, but is still necessary, such as getting oneself to the place where the task is to be done or gathering need items. Hence, a manual step for taxes is "collect envelopes that say 'important tax document enclosed" and take them to the kitchen table" or wherever it is to be done. For a student, the manual step might be "get to the library" or "open the essay file." For exercise, first steps might be "get out exercise clothes," "put air in the bike tires," or even "get air pump from the basement."

It seems basic, but adults with ADHD often have difficulties with sequencing steps and managing the subtle emotional discomfort associated with switching to such tasks (deemed the "ugh" feeling 2 ) that trigger an impulsive escape to something else other than the planned task. Taking these initial steps is designed to set off a launch sequence of associations that will promote follow through on the priority.

2) Script out the initial onboarding steps for engagement : Despite the aforementioned ideas for getting off to a good start, it is useful to list out a few more actionable onboarding steps. For taxes they might be "open envelopes and lay out forms;" for the student and homework it might be "check online syllabus to confirm the homework" or "re-read the essay draft;" and for exercise these additional steps might be "choose exercise playlist" or "gather helmet, bike shoes, and glasses." Again, none of these steps are necessarily making any progress, yet, but are akin to wading into the swimming pool and increase the odds for engagement. None of these steps guarantee follow through – but they function to turn the abstract idea of what we plan to do into specific steps, each one increasing the likelihood that we will do the next step and in this process the task has been started, not unlike progressive exposure steps for facing anxiety .

3) Create a "bounded task" plan with a start- and end-time : Most priority tasks will require more than one work session to finish it, such as taxes or an essay, or persistent efforts across time, such as exercise. Often, these tasks are approached with the plan to "work on it for a few hours," "get as far as I can," or some other either unclear or unrealistic time frame.

We often do not do things we like for "a few hours," much less many work tasks. Creating a "bounded task" plan is akin to defining the other end of the swimming pool so that we can allocate our efforts to reach an end point. The ideal is to set an appointment for a task with a reasonable, minimal time frame and a specific clock time, such as "At 9 a.m. on Saturday, I'll spend at least 30 minutes on my tax plan, ending at 9:30 a.m."

Once started, people often continue working on that priority task for at least a little longer than planned, which is a bonus. However, particularly for adults with ADHD, if they would have set out to work that long, they would have been at risk for thoughts and feelings related to the idea "I'm not up for this right now" or "I'm not in the mood to work that long" and have abandoned the plan before starting. In fact, a recent study indicated that knowing in advance when a neuropsychological test would end resulted in better performance compared with those who were not told. 3

4) Define a minimal, achievable task objective that provides a target for completion : Another aspect of procrastivity tasks is that they tend to offer clear stopping points when the task is done, such as mowing the lawn. Time-bounding mentioned above is helpful on this front to at least provide a time-based definition for being done, at least for a particular work block.

Task-bounding is an option for many tasks, such as "unload the dishwasher" or a "10-mile bike ride," but the main issue is making sure the task is seen as being "doable" – it is better to set a lower bar to increase the odds of engagement ("Maybe if I at least unload the top rack of the dishwasher"). Being able to reach points of completion helps promote efficacy for the task, even basic ones, such as "enter name, address, and other basic info on online tax form" or "I'll at least do the aerobic part of my workout."

If people end up stopping after those accomplishments, that is fine – they did not procrastinate. Most often, after getting over the hurdle of initial ambivalence and "ugh" feelings, people most often keep going, reach a stopping point, and feel much better as a consequence. We often underestimate the positive feeling associated with getting things done, even the "have-to" tasks of life

The valuation and prioritization of tasks is a personal matter that is fit to one's situation. The purpose of outlining procrastivity and lessons learned from it is to allow individuals to make informed decisions about how they spend themselves and their time, energy, and effort. Indeed, it is perfectly reasonable to decide that one does not want to deal with taxes or homework on a particular day and instead focus on procrastivity tasks (or simply having down time, which itself is a worthwhile "task"). When procrastination runs the risk of causing problems, though, it is helpful to have a model for understanding how one slipped into it and corresponding strategies for engaging in avoided tasks.

As with other coping strategies for adult ADHD , there is nothing shocking in these suggestions – there are no trade secrets for how to cope with ADHD, but it is an implementation issue. That said, these sorts of adaptations to known coping strategies are often needed to promote follow through and they are helpful for anyone, ADHD or not.

References

  1. Procrastivity. (n.d.). In Urban Dictionary . Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=procrastivity
  2. Ramsay, J. R. (2020). Rethinking adult ADHD: Helping clients turn intentions into actions . American Psychological Association.
  3. Katzir, M. et al. (2020). Cognitive performance is enhanced if one knows when the task will end. Cognition . Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10/1016/j.cognition.2020.104189 .

J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D., is an associate professor of clinical psychology and co-founder/co-director of the Adult ADHD Treatment & Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

[Aug 02, 2020] On staying organized and motivated with to-do lists:

Aug 02, 2020 | blog.3dcart.com

"I am a business owner who combats procrastination in a fairly simple way: I make to-do lists and stick to them. Each day, I create a to-do list that outlines everything I hope to accomplish that day. Some of these items may be time sensitive and are organized as my top priorities. Others are less immediate, but may be assignments I would like to start on and are categorized closer towards the end of the list. I review my to-do list throughout the day and cross off everything I have accomplished. It keeps me motivated to stay on task and allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing I've already done so much!"

[Aug 02, 2020] The Dark Side of Perfectionism - Psychology Today

Jun 14, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

The Dark Side of Perfectionism Notes on an ailment and its apologies.

Cottonbro/Pexels

Pensive female artist holding paint brush Source: Cottonbro/Pexels

Job candidates are sometimes asked what their biggest flaw is. According to popular advice, one should never, in response to this question, say "perfectionism," since that is not a flaw, and implying that you are flawless won't endear you to the interviewer.

In truth, perfectionism has maladaptive versions, and it can border on pathology. It is this darker side of perfectionism that interests me here. But let us start with the adaptive variant.

In its healthy manifestations, perfectionism motivates people to strive for excellence. This motive is key to the greatest human endeavors. It is difficult to imagine anyone becoming a violin virtuoso, a world-class ballet dancer, or a notable artist without a measure of that particular intolerance for mediocrity in oneself – at least, in a given domain – that is at the core of striving for excellence.

At other times, perfectionism takes a different – and self-destructive – form. Unhealthy perfectionism leads us to spend more time brooding than actually attempting to do anything. Why?

There are, I think, two main bases of unhealthy – some would say " neurotic " – perfectionism. One is a tendency to shift the focus of attention from the task at hand to how success or failure would reflect on us. Of course, in doing anything, we are more or less aware of the fact that both success and failure would show something about us – and we are not indifferent to what that something would be – but when we are focused on a task, this thought is in the periphery of our attention, not its focal point. Not so for the perfectionist. Perfectionists are preoccupied with what success or failure would show about them.

This is a problem because you can only do a good job if you pay attention to what you are doing. If you are thinking about something else – anything really, but in this case, yourself – your mind is not where it should be given the task you are facing.

There is another path to maladaptive perfectionism. The perfectionist is fixated on the idea that the project at hand must be the best thing he or she has ever done. Writer Elizabeth Tallent captures this second pitfall well. Tallent began her career with aplomb. Her first short story collection, published by a prestigious press and well-received by critics, appeared while Tallent was still in her late 20s. She published two more short story collections over the course of the next 10 years, but after that, she published absolutely nothing for more than two decades. In her autobiographical Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism , Tallent offers an honest and moving account of her struggle with the perilous currents of perfectionism. As a perfectionist, she held the belief that she could outdo herself on the very next try. This wishful belief in the proximity of stardom proved intoxicating:

The very perfectionism that was shutting down writing imbued the process with a thrilled momentousness, gratifying in itself: in my Zeno's arrow's flight, I was always closing in on the most beautiful thing I'd ever written. [1]

Tallent's expression "Zeno's arrow's flight" is a reference to the Greek philosopher Zeno, who argued that an arrow can never reach its destination, because first, it must travel half the distance to the endpoint, and before that, half of the first half, and so on ad infinitum. But you cannot, Zeno reasoned, ever reach your destination if you have to go through an infinite number of stages.

Zeno was wrong about the possibility of motion, but the image captures the perfectionist's mental framework – or should we say trap – well. It is as though the perfectionist is reaching for the horizon, which always seems within our grasp but never is.

What makes success even less likely is the perfectionist's romanticized vision of it, the hope for effortlessness. In Tallent's case, that meant expecting that the beauty of well-crafted sentences will somehow come down from the sky and pour directly onto the page, complete:

Another con – perpetrated by myself on myself – this delusion of being able to write something incredibly beautiful of course means appearing in print. Effortlessly. In the very near future. Actual and highly fortunate experiences had taught me how arduous and prolonged is a manuscript's progression to published volume. But just as dreams collapse the dreary interval between the wish for a thing and its manifestation, so did perfectionism. [2]

The problem for Tallent and other perfectionists is that outdoing oneself on the very next try is statistically improbable even if you put in a good deal of effort. It is impossible without it. On any given occasion, our performance is likely to be close to our own average, though if we persevere, over time, we can shift the average so that what was once the height of achievement becomes our mean or even the least we are capable of.

People like Tallent who begin with a great success – above their own mean – may be at a particular risk here since they want to immediately improve on an achievement that was, ex ante , unlikely. If you outdid yourself on the last try, it will be difficult for you to repeat the success straight away, let alone surpass it. You can improve on it, of course, but after repeated attempts.

The perfectionist's predicament is worsened further by the fact that anything short of one's biggest accomplishment yet is seen as a failure of the current enterprise. This all but guarantees a failure in the perfectionist's own estimation...

... ... ...

But it is also important to guard against the hidden seductiveness of the perfectionist's self-destructive mindset. For this mindset does have its dreadful appeal for us. There is something soothing about this particular type of malaise. One can almost take refuge in it, telling oneself that there is no point in trying to change anything, because the very nature of the psyche's illness is an inability to do things differently. Tallent writes similarly:

Even when I opened my mouth to inform one therapist after another perfectionism was killing me, its deprivations suited me to a T: ailment as apology . So sorry I never lived up to my brilliant promise. Psychically, perfectionism is home. [5]

It is precisely this tendency to get cozy with one's own perfectionism that must be resisted.

Unhealthy perfectionism, then, begins with an intoxicating promise of a big success in the very near future. But we can only maintain a belief of this sort for so long before it becomes clear the promise was a false one. Then the intoxication gradually turns into something different: acceptance of one's identity as a perfectionist and from here, of the certainty of failure. You tell yourself that unless you are going to cause a sensation, a real stir, there is no point in attempting anything. But to cause a sensation is unlikely, so being a perfectionist, you conclude you need not act. After all, if anything you can possibly achieve is sure to be a failure by your current standards, why bother?

At this stage, perfectionism lulls us into inactivity. Ailment as apology, as Tallent puts it. It kills us, softly.

Of course, chances are that if Tallent had continued writing during those two decades, she would have surpassed her early accomplishment. Maybe not on the first try, or the second, or the third, but eventually.

Maladaptive perfectionism, then, is not simply a desire for perfection but a desire for success without any intermediate failures, without false starts. It is a yearning for a path to greatness that amounts to a constant progression whereby one's next achievement improves on all previous ones. That is simply not an option for humans.

William F. Lynch, in Images of Hope , discusses perfectionism, with which he himself struggled. Lynch talks about the perfectionist's propensity, mentioned earlier, to focus not on the task at hand but on oneself, judging oneself harshly while at the same time diverting the energy one needs in order to succeed away from work and toward unproductive self-criticism and self-flagellation. Lynch goes so far as to say that the ability not to give in to that propensity and to self-destructive perfectionism in general is the best one we've got:

The very ability to turn away from this judgment on himself is the best thing in man, transcending in quality and importance all the things he is tempted to judge. It is the victory we need in our time, to turn away from being our own executioners. [6]

I don't know whether I would go so far as to say that this ability is the best one we have, but Lynch is certainly right that without it, we turn into our own – scratched, wounded, and bleeding – executioners.

References

  1. [1] Tallent, E. (2020). Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism . New York, NY: Harper Collins, 13.
  2. [2] Ibid.
  3. [3] Ibid., 9.
  4. [4] Ibid., 28.
  5. [5] Ibid., 27.
  6. [6] Lynch, W. (1974). Images of Hope: Imagination as Healer of the Hopeless . Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Iskra Fileva, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her academic work, she specializes in moral psychology and issues at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry. The focus of her current research is on the connections and tensions between conscious and unconscious motivation, the nature of moral emotions, and the boundary between bad character and personality disorders.

[Aug 02, 2020] To fight procrastination, here are my best tips

September 6 is Fight Procrastination Day
Aug 02, 2020 | blog.3dcart.com
Make a to-do list: you want to create a to-do list at the beginning of each week and each day. This will help you visualize what you need to accomplish. ... Don't multitask: try to work on 1 thing at a time. ... Turn off distractions: turn off social media, phone notifications and any other things that make you distracted the most." Break the workload to smaller manageable chunks. Get manageable chunks of work and work on them individually. This means that if you have a large piece of a project to finish by the end of the day, break it to smaller sub-tasks and approach each one individually. Take the easier tasks first. If you are prone to procrastination, take up the easier tasks first, to get your 'engines' started. Psychologically, you'll feel less burdened because you'll already have a few tasks ticked off your to-do list. Drop perfectionism. Regardless of the nature of your work, know that you shouldn't have the polished result just when you start. Work on version one, two, three, and don't struggle to make it perfect before you've even started.

"Another productivity and anti-procrastination hack is to set deadlines for yourself in places where there might not be a hard deadline -- for instance, certain tasks that might just be geared towards your personal goals and dreams. These are still supremely important and should never be on the back-burner, especially if you are an entrepreneur trying to grow your business. It's always a good idea to set several reminders for yourself either using the reminders app on your phone or else on Google Calendar!

Track your screen time

I've identified a pattern where I check my gadgets, social media and analytics way more often. It's when I'm working on projects that are uninspiring or out of line with my core values. If I choose projects to work on that make me feel like this, then I seem to subconsciously self-sabotage. I notice and react to push notifications, and all manner of distractions seem to pop into my head. Some of my 'busiest' workdays, with the most prolonged hours, are those where I procrastinate but achieve little.

On improving focus on work by being prepared:

"One of the reasons why people procrastinate is poor work preparation. Make sure that you have all of your materials in advance including electronics, notes, reports, and even coffee and snacks. When you have everything ready, you will be able to focus just on your tasks. In return, you will be much more productive and may even finish work faster."

On the importance of daily goals:

"It is much easier to start working when you have concrete goals to meet. These goals should be as specific as possible -- almost like a bucket list. Ideally, you should estimate the necessary time for each task. Once you have everything written down, you'll be able to simply follow the list and make sure that you tick every item. Making a list ahead of time will help you prioritize things and feel less overwhelmed with work. Once you are relaxed, you won't need to procrastinate."

[Aug 02, 2020] Procrastination 101: procrastination and hoarding disorder are connected

Notable quotes:
"... Procrastination: Why You Do It, and What to Do About It Now, ..."
"... Periodic procrastination can be disappointing and frustrating, but it really depends on the consequences we suffer that determine how much of a priority we make it to address this habit to resolve it. We suffer all kinds of consequences. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | www.psychologytoday.com

Yes, procrastination is a choice. Some circumstances create an environment where even involuntarily making the choice to procrastinate may protect you from a result that would be even worse.

Procrastination has been given a bad rap. Traditionally, procrastination was viewed as a failure to do something -- a negative life event. But best source research by experienced mental health professionals like Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen outline in their book, Procrastination: Why You Do It, and What to Do About It Now, suggests otherwise.

In a discussion with Burka for her radio show on Voice America , Elaine talked in-depth about how procrastination actually protects you from something that, for you, is even worse and scarier than having the label "procrastinator."

Because procrastination is such a common behavior in hoarding disorder , understanding what procrastination is and how to manage it is pivotal to achieving success. Are you procrastinating and having difficulty maintaining your initial enthusiasm to declutter, or are you taking other actions that you want/need more in your life than the mental, physical, and spatial clutter that surrounds you and weighs you down? Perhaps getting started is where you get blocked.

You may be like many of our readers who feel puzzled and defeated. They say that they know what to do to clean up, get organized, or finish that task, even if they don't hoard or live with undue clutter. But they just can't make themselves do it. Many people struggle with, and sometimes feel defeated by procrastination.

When we add busy lives into the mix where multitasking is our approach to everything, this can overwhelm us and sometimes bring us to a grinding halt. We can't possibly do everything that's expected of us. If we add in the things that we really want to do for our own happiness or benefit, it's just too much. Yet, we keep bumping our head on it and keep trying. We keep blaming ourselves and undermining our self-esteem and sense of competence.

Periodic procrastination can be disappointing and frustrating, but it really depends on the consequences we suffer that determine how much of a priority we make it to address this habit to resolve it. We suffer all kinds of consequences.

... ... ...

[Aug 02, 2020] A Checklist for Personal Efficiency

Aug 02, 2020 | www.forbes.com

At the end of the day, there are two ways to excel in business: Right strategy and personal effectiveness. Strategy is often a complex matter, and personal effectiveness is simpler, but very few do it well.

Yet the potential gains when you maximize how efficiently you perform can be astronomical. There are people who are quite literally achieving 3 times what others are getting done, every single week. After 5 years of performing at high efficiency they end up leaving the others in the dust. As a high performance coach for business leaders, I am constantly working on improving their personal effectiveness.

In my experience there are seven important areas to focus on. Print this list out and keep it on your desk, then monitor yourself on it daily. I can assure you, your personal efficiency will skyrocket.

1. Plan your day in advance.

Don't just start work. Take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are, get them all down on paper. Next , decide when you will do each item throughout the day. Only then should you begin your day's work. Such planning may look like a waste of time, but it usually doubles the speed at which your To Do list gets done.

As Abraham Lincoln said, " If I had six hours to cut down a tree I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe."

2. Do the most important tasks first.

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Let's face it, these days there is simply not enough time to get all your To Do's done. So if you don't do your most crucial jobs first, many days you will find they never get done at all.

3. Rush unimportant tasks.

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This is a rarely mentioned technique of efficiency. You can unlock huge amounts of time by rushing jobs that don't matter much. As Warren Buffett put it, "Whats' not worth doing is not worth doing well."

4. Work in uninterrupted blocks.

Interruptions destroy efficiency. The more you can find a quiet place to work uninterrupted on your To Do's, the more you'll get done. Consider working two mornings a week at a nearby coffee shop. Or book a meeting room at your office and post a big 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door.

5. Don't do emails until 11am.

When you start work, glance at your emails for anything truly urgent. (This should take no more than ten minutes). Then forget about email until mid morning. Don't be one of those people that puts everyone else's priorities before your own.

6. Pick one key job for the day.

What's the one task that would help your business the most? Get clear on this, each and every day. If all you did was achieve your single most important task daily, in 3 months your business would be powering. But most people have never identified what their key daily task is.

7. Have a finishing time.

Everyone has a start time, but few have a time they must leave at the end of the day. You'd be amazed how much more efficient you become when you do. When you know there's a certain time you must finish work, it forces you to work quickly all through the day so you can make the deadline. But when your work day is open ended, there's no real need to work fast. Remember Parkinson's Law : "Work expands to fill the time allotted for it."

So that's your personal efficiency checklist. Keep it nearby as you work through your day.

If you can stick to this list daily you will find you will radically change how much you achieve. You'll be able to work less and earn more. Your stress will go down and your confidence will go up.

[Aug 02, 2020] 10 Scientifically Proven Tips for Beating Procrastination

Aug 02, 2020 | www.forbes.com

Here are ten tips for overcoming that daunting task you've been avoiding, based on science:​ ​

1. Pick Your Poison.

The key to beating procrastination is focus. We often give ourselves too many things to do and become overwhelmed. Start by choosing just ONE thing that you've been procrastinating and make a commitment to complete that task in the next week.

2. Start today.

Once you've narrowed it down to one task, you must take immediate action. Today. If it feels daunting or you don't think you have enough time to complete the task, do the Five Minute Miracle below.

3. Five Minute Miracle.

This is one of the best techniques for people who struggle with procrastination. The Five Minute Miracle involves asking yourself; "Hmm, what action can I take in less than five minutes TODAY that moves this forward even the tiniest bit?" Once you've identified a small action, set a timer for five minutes and spend five minutes working on the task. Research shows that once you start something, you're much more likely to finish it. This is due to a psychological phenomenon called the Zeigarnik effect , which says that unfinished tasks are more likely to get stuck in your memory. (This is also why our mind gets stuck in a loop thinking about all the things we haven't yet completed.) Remember: Small action is still action. Five minutes can make all the difference.

4. Do a Power Hour .

A Power Hour consists of putting away all distractions and working in concentrated chunks of time (to begin with I suggest no more than twenty minute intervals) followed by short periods of rest, in order to harness the optimal performance of your brain and body.

Science has discovered that our brain naturally goes through cycles with peaks and valleys. To maximize your output, it is vital that you honor these peaks and valleys by balancing concentrated, focused time with relaxation and integration.

5. Kill It With Kindness.

Research shows that the more you can forgive yourself for past procrastination, the more likely you are to overcome your current procrastination and take action. Practice self-compassion when thinking of your past experience procrastinating.

6. Have a Procrastination Power Song .

Pick a song that really gets you energized, and play it whenever you want to tackle something you've been procrastinating. The brain likes to have a trigger to create a new habit, plus you're more likely to follow through when you're feeling good in your body.

7. Get under the hood.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to understand exactly why you've been procrastinating a specific task. Are you afraid of something? Maybe you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Fill in the sentence; "I'm avoiding this task because " or "I'm avoiding this task because I'm afraid that ." And see what shows up. Identifying your fears can help you realize the monsters in the closet aren't as bad as you think.

8. Let It Go.

Most people put way too much on their To Do list. One way to stop procrastinating something is to decide you're never going to do it. What can you take off your to do list? Try crossing something off your list simply because you realize you don't really need to do that thing...ever. Give yourself permission to let it go.

9. Make a bet.

It can be very helpful to have an accountability buddy. One fun way to take this a step further is to have a bet with your buddy. Choose a day and time within the next week that you will complete this task and then tell your friend or colleague; "I'll give you $10 / take you out to lunch / buy you coffee / watch that awful movie you've been wanting to see / etc. if I haven't completed this task by next Wednesday at 10:00am." Give your accountability buddy a date and time within the next week and tell them in order to redeem the agreed upon prize, they must check in with you at that appointed day and time. If you haven't completed your task by then you owe them whatever you bet!

10. Make it fun.

Another way to motivate yourself to complete a task is to create a reward that you will give yourself once it's been completed. What can you treat yourself to once you've finished this task? Research shows the human brain responds to reward stimulus and this can be a good way to create habits.

[Jul 03, 2020] The world s economy is in contraction. Although capital, what actual capital exists, will have to try and do something productive, it is confronted by this fact, that everything is facing contraction.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I agree that globalism is/will be heading into the dumpers, but I see no chance that US-based manufacturing is going to make any significant come-back. ..."
"... What market will there be for US-manufactured goods? US "consumers" are heavily in debt and facing continued downward pressures on income. ..."
"... There will certainly be, especially given the eye-opener of COVID-19, a big push to have medical (which includes associated tech) production capacities reinvigorated in the US. ..."
"... More "disposable" income goes toward medical expenditures. Less money goes toward creating export items; wealth creation only occurs through a positive increase in balance of trade. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, death, the US will likely continue, for the mid-term, to export weaponry; but, don't expect enough growth here to mean much (margins will drop as competition increases, so figure downward pressure on net export $$). ..."
"... the planet cannot comply with our economic model's dependency on perpetual growth: there can NOT be perpetual growth on a finite planet. US manufacturing requires, as it always has, export markets; requires ever-increasing exports: this is really true for all others. Higher standards of living in the US (and add in increasing medical costs which factor into cost of goods sold) means that the price of US-manufactured goods will be less affordable to peoples outside of the US. ..."
"... I'll also note that the notion of there being a cycle, a parabolic curve, in civilizations is well noted/documented in Sir John Glubb's The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival (you can find electronic bootlegged copies on the Internet)- HIGHLY recommended reading! ..."
"... All of this is pretty much reflected in Wall Street companies ramp-ups in stock-buy-backs. That's money that's NOT put in R&D or expansion. I'm pretty sure that the brains in all of this KNOW what the situation is: growth is never coming back. ..."
"... Make no mistake, what we're facing is NOT another recession or depression, it's not part of what we think as a downturn in the "business cycle," as though we'll "pull out of it," it's basically an end to the super-cycle ..."
"... We are at the peak (slightly past peak, but not far enough to realize it yet) and there is no returning. Per-capita income and energy consumption have peaked. There's not enough resources and not enough new demand (younger people, people that have wealth) to keep the perpetual growth machine going. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Seer , Jul 3 2020 10:34 utc | 125

NemesisCalling @ 28

I agree that globalism is/will be heading into the dumpers, but I see no chance that US-based manufacturing is going to make any significant come-back.

The world's economy is in contraction. Although capital, what actual capital exists, will have to try and do something "productive," it is confronted by this fact, that everything is facing contraction. During times of contraction it's a game of acquisition rather than expanding capacity: the sum total is STILL contraction; and the contraction WILL be a reduction in excess, excess manufacturing and labor.

What market will there be for US-manufactured goods? US "consumers" are heavily in debt and facing continued downward pressures on income. China is self-sufficient (enough) other than energy (which can be acquired outside of US markets). Most every other country is in a position of declining wealth (per capita income levels peaked and in decline). And manufacturing continues to increase its automation (less workers means less consumers).

There will certainly be, especially given the eye-opener of COVID-19, a big push to have medical (which includes associated tech) production capacities reinvigorated in the US. One has to look at this in The Big Picture of what it means, and that's that the US population is aging (and in poor health).

More "disposable" income goes toward medical expenditures. Less money goes toward creating export items; wealth creation only occurs through a positive increase in balance of trade. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, death, the US will likely continue, for the mid-term, to export weaponry; but, don't expect enough growth here to mean much (margins will drop as competition increases, so figure downward pressure on net export $$).

Lastly, and it's the reason why global trade is being knocked down, is that the planet cannot comply with our economic model's dependency on perpetual growth: there can NOT be perpetual growth on a finite planet. US manufacturing requires, as it always has, export markets; requires ever-increasing exports: this is really true for all others. Higher standards of living in the US (and add in increasing medical costs which factor into cost of goods sold) means that the price of US-manufactured goods will be less affordable to peoples outside of the US.

And here too is the fact that other countries' populations are also aging. Years ago I dove into the demographics angle/assessment to find out that ALL countries ramp and age and that you can see countries' energy consumption rise and their their net trade balance swing negative- there's a direct correlation: go to the CIA's Factbook and look at demographics and energy and the graphs tell the story.

I'll also note that the notion of there being a cycle, a parabolic curve, in civilizations is well noted/documented in Sir John Glubb's The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival (you can find electronic bootlegged copies on the Internet)- HIGHLY recommended reading!

All of this is pretty much reflected in Wall Street companies ramp-ups in stock-buy-backs. That's money that's NOT put in R&D or expansion. I'm pretty sure that the brains in all of this KNOW what the situation is: growth is never coming back.

MANY years ago I stated that we will one day face "economies of scale in reverse." We NEVER considered that growth couldn't continue forever. There was never a though about what would happen with the reverse "of economies of scale."

Make no mistake, what we're facing is NOT another recession or depression, it's not part of what we think as a downturn in the "business cycle," as though we'll "pull out of it," it's basically an end to the super-cycle.

We will never be able to replicate the state of things as they are. We are at the peak (slightly past peak, but not far enough to realize it yet) and there is no returning. Per-capita income and energy consumption have peaked. There's not enough resources and not enough new demand (younger people, people that have wealth) to keep the perpetual growth machine going.

[Jun 08, 2020] Much of the rest of the world is in the same situation as the US

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [139] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 9:52 am GMT

Not a bad article. Much of the rest of the world is in the same situation as the US, so it's going to reorganize itself at about the same time as the US does. Your Russia has already reorganized itself, events may force that again, but I'd hope not. Russia has suffered enough, in my opinion.

Suggested reading:

Caldwell, _The Entitlement Society_ -- effect of Civil Rights legislation on the US. Caldwell suggests that implementing Civil Rights as interpreted by the Judicial Branch is physically impossible and has been a proximate cause of the situation Saker describes.

Copley, _Uncivilization_ -- The US situation of megacities destroying their hinterlands is not limited to the US, but is worldwide. Copley considers this a strategic weakness should there be a central war, but the current situation suggests that the weakness may make cities unable to get resources needed for urban survival even without a central war.

Martin von Creveld, "The Fate of the State', _Parameters_, 1996 (search Google Scholar for original article). Shows that decline is not limited to the West, but is a retreat of civilization worldwide, both in terms of a reduction of civilized territory and in terms of governmental control/legitimacy within governmental boundaries. So far, the decline von Creveld described in 1996 has continued unabated. Few predictions in the field of strategic analysis have been as successful.

Levinson, _The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger_, In passing, Levinson recounts how the cities lost their natural monopoly on shipping and manufacturing to container ports and distributed manufacturing.

Harper, _The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (The Princeton History of the Ancient World) _. Demonstrates that social failure was not responsible for the fall of Rome, but that physical factors (disease, end of the Roman Climate Optimum was). Club of Rome, _Limits to Growth_, was an early attempt to find physical limiting factors for industrial societies.

[May 21, 2020] The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion of labour in which Western societies could prosper from the ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks

Notable quotes:
"... In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron. ..."
"... What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed. ..."
"... In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use. ..."
"... The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature. ..."
"... Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay. ..."
"... The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro. ..."
"... The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly. ..."
"... A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions. ..."
"... Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided. ..."
"... But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone. ..."
"... The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe. ..."
"... I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented. ..."
"... "Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic." ..."
"... Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders. ..."
"... " French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world " ..."
"... From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill. ..."
"... The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens. ..."
"... Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons. ..."
"... After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters". ..."
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron.

Macron and his government are criticized for hesitating too long to confine the population, for vacillating about the need for masks and tests, or about when or how much to end the confinement. Their confusion and indecision at least defend them from the wild accusation of having staged the whole thing in order to lock up the population.

What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once.

The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed.

Meanwhile, in early April, Vietnam donated hundreds of thousands of antimicrobial face masks to European countries and is producing them by the million. Employing tests and selective isolation, Vietnam has fought off the epidemic with only a few hundred cases and no deaths.

You must have thoughts as to the question of Western unity in response to Covid–19.

In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use.

The absence of European solidarity has been shockingly clear. Better-equipped Germany banned exports of masks to Italy. In the depth of its crisis, Italy found that the German and Dutch governments were mainly concerned with making sure Italy pays its debts. Meanwhile, a team of Chinese experts arrived in Rome to help Italy with its Covid–19 crisis, displaying a banner reading "We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden." The European institutions lack such humanistic poetry. Their founding value is not solidarity but the neoliberal principle of "free unimpeded competition."

How do you think this reflects on the European Union?

The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature.

Globalization has hastened the spread of the pandemic, but it has not strengthened internationalist solidarity. Initial gratitude for Chinese aid is being brutally opposed by European Atlanticists. In early May, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Springer publishing giant, bluntly called on Germany to ally with the U.S. -- against China. Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay.

Meanwhile, relations between EU member states have never been worse. In Italy and to a greater extent in France, the coronavirus crisis has enforced growing disillusion with the European Union and an ill-defined desire to restore national sovereignty.

Corollary question: What are the prospects that Europe will produce leaders capable of seizing that right moment, that assertion of independence? What do you reckon such leaders would be like?

The EU is likely to be a central issue in the near future, but this issue can be exploited in very different ways, depending on which leaders get hold of it. The coronavirus crisis has intensified the centrifugal forces already undermining the European Union. The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro.

What does the crisis mean for the euro? I confess I've lost faith in this project, given how disadvantaged it leaves the nations on the Continent's southern rim.

The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly.

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe recently issued a long judgment making it clear who is boss. It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states. If these rules were not followed, the Bundesbank, the German central bank, would be obliged to pull out of the ECB. And since the Bundesbank is the ECB's main creditor, that is that. There can be no generous financial help to troubled governments within the eurozone. Period.

Is there a possibility of disintegration here?

The idea of leaving the EU is most developed in France. The Union Populaire Républicaine, founded in 2007 by former senior functionary François Asselineau, calls for France to leave the euro, the European Union, and NATO.

The party has been a didactic success, spreading its ideas and attracting around 20,000 active militants without scoring any electoral success. A main argument for leaving the EU is to escape from the constraints of EU competition rules in order to protect its vital industry, agriculture, and above all its public services.

A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions.

" Europe" as an idea or an ideal, you mean.

Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic.

Two and a half months of coronavirus crisis have brought to light a factor that makes any predictions about future leaders even more problematic. That factor is a widespread distrust and rejection of all established authority. This makes rational political programs extremely difficult, because rejection of one authority implies acceptance of another. For instance, the way to liberate public services and pharmaceuticals from the distortions of the profit motive is nationalization. If you distrust the power of one as much as the other, there is nowhere to go.

Such radical distrust can be explained by two main factors -- the inevitable feeling of helplessness in our technologically advanced world, combined with the deliberate and even transparent lies on the part of mainstream politicians and media. But it sets the stage for the emergence of manipulated saviors or opportunistic charlatans every bit as deceptive as the leaders we already have, or even more so. I hope these irrational tendencies are less pronounced in France than in some other countries.

I'm eager to talk about Russia. There are signs that relations with Russia are another source of European dissatisfaction as "junior partners" within the U.S.–led Atlantic alliance. Macron is outspoken on this point, "junior partners" being his phrase. The Germans -- business people, some senior officials in government -- are quite plainly restive.

Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided.

But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone.

I hadn't put our current circumstance in this context. US-backed, violent coup in Ukraine, 2014.

The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe.

U.S. sanctions are particularly contrary to German business interests, and NATO's aggressive gestures put Germany on the front lines of an eventual war.

But Germany has been an occupied country -- militarily and politically -- for 75 years, and I suspect that many German political leaders (usually vetted by Washington) have learned to fit their projects into U.S. policies. I think that under the cover of Atlantic loyalty, there are some frustrated imperialists lurking in the German establishment, who think they can use Washington's Russophobia as an instrument to make a comeback as a world military power.

But I also think that the political debate in Germany is overwhelmingly hypocritical, with concrete aims veiled by fake issues such as human rights and, of course, devotion to Israel.

We should remember that the U.S. does not merely use its allies -- its allies, or rather their leaders, figure they are using the U.S. for some purposes of their own.

What about what the French have been saying since the G–7 session in Biarritz two years ago, that Europe should forge its own relations with Russia according to Europe's interests, not America's?

At G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. (White House)

I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented.

Stepping back for a broader look, do you think Europe's position on the western flank of the Eurasian landmass will inevitably shape its position with regard not only to Russia but also China? To put this another way, is Europe destined to become an independent pole of power in the course of this century, standing between West and East?

At present, what we have standing between West and East is not Europe but Russia, and what matters is which way Russia leans. Including Russia, Europe might become an independent pole of power. The U.S. is currently doing everything to prevent this. But there is a school of strategic thought in Washington which considers this a mistake, because it pushes Russia into the arms of China. This school is in the ascendant with the campaign to denounce China as responsible for the pandemic. As mentioned, the Atlanticists in Europe are leaping into the anti–China propaganda battle. But they are not displaying any particular affection for Russia, which shows no sign of sacrificing its partnership with China for the unreliable Europeans.

If Russia were allowed to become a friendly bridge between China and Europe, the U.S. would be obliged to abandon its pretensions of world hegemony. But we are far from that peaceful prospect.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .


Josep , May 19, 2020 at 02:04

It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states.

I once read a comment elsewhere saying that, back in 1989, both Britain (under Margaret Thatcher) and the US objected to German reunification. Since they could not stop the reunification, they insisted that Germany accept the incoming euro. A heap of German university professors jumped up and protested, knowing fully well what the game was: namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers.

Thorben Sunkimat , May 20, 2020 at 13:45

France and Britain rejected the german reunification. The americans were supportive, even though they had their demands. Mainly privatisation of german public utilities. After agreeing to those demands the americans persuaded the british and pressured the french who agreed to german reunification after germany agreed to the euro.

So why did france want the euro?

The German central bank crashed the European economy after reunification with high interest rates. This was because of above average growth rates mainly in Eastern Germany. Main function of the Bundesbank is to keep inflation low, which is more important to them than anything else. Since Germany's D Mark was the leading currency in Europe the rest of Europe had to heighten their interest rates too, witch lead to great economic problems within Europe. Including France.

OlyaPola , May 21, 2020 at 05:30

"namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers."

Resort to binaries (controlled/not controlled) is a practice of self-imposed blindness. In any interactive system no absolutes exist only analogues of varying assays since "control" is limited and variable. In respect of what became the German Empire this relationship predated and facilitated the German Empire through financing the war with Denmark in 1864 courtesy of the arrangements between Mr. von Bismark and Mr. Bleichroder. The assay of "control of bankers" has varied/increased subsequently but never attained the absolute.

It is true that finance capital perceived and continues to perceive the European Union as an opportunity to increase their assay of "control" – the Austrian banks in conjunction with German bank assigning a level of priority to resurrecting spheres of influence existing prior to 1918 and until 1945.

One of the joint projects at a level of planning in the early 1990's was development of the Danube and its hinterland from Regensburg to Cerna Voda/Constanta in Romania but this was delayed in the hope of curtailment by some when NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 (Serbia not being the only target – so much for honesty-amongst-theives.)

This project was resurrected in a limited form primarily downstream from Vidin/Calafat from 2015 onwards given that some states of the former Yugoslavia were not members of the European Union and some were within spheres of influence of "The United States of America".

As to France, "Vichy" and Europa also facilitated the resurrection of finance capital and increase in its assay of control after the 1930's, some of the practices of the 1940's still being subject to dispute in France.

mkb29 , May 18, 2020 at 16:33

I've always admired Diana Johnstone's clear headed analyses of world/European/U.S./ China/Israel-Palestine/Russia/ interactions and the motivation of its "players". She has given some credence to what as been known as French rationalism and enlightenment. (Albeit as an American expat) Think Descartes, Diderot, Sartre , and She loves France in her own rationalist-humanist way.

Linda J , May 18, 2020 at 13:21

I have admired Ms. Johnstone's work for quite awhile. This enlightening interview spurs me to get a copy of the book and to contribute to Consortium News.

Others may be interested in the two-part video discovered yesterday featuring Douglas Valentine's analysis of the CIA's corporate backers and their global choke-hold on governments and their influencers in every region of the world.

Part 1
see:youtu(dot)be/cP15Ehx1yvI

Part 2
see:youtu(dot)be/IYvvEn_N1sE

worldblee , May 18, 2020 at 12:26

Not many have the long distance perspective on the world, let alone Europe, that Diana Johnstone has. Great interview!

Drew Hunkins , May 18, 2020 at 11:03

"Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic."

Bingo! A marvelous point indeed! Quick little example -- Bernard Sanders should have worn an American flag pin on his suit during the 2020 Dem primary campaign.

chris , May 18, 2020 at 04:46

A very good analysis. As an American who has relocated to Spain several years ago, I am always disappointed that discussions of European politics always assume that Europe ends at the Pyrenees. Admittedly, Spanish politics is very complicated and confusing. Forty years of an unreconstructed dictatorship have left their mark, but the country´s socialist, communist and anarchic currents never went away. I like to say that the country is very conservative, but at least the population is aware of what is going on.

Perhaps what Ms. Johnston says about the French being just worn out, with no stomach for more violent conflict also applies to the Spanish since their great ideological struggle is more recent. The American influence during the Transition (which changed little – as the expression goes: The same dog but with a different collar) was very strong, and remains so. Even so, there is popular support for foreign and domestic policies independent of American and neoliberal control, but by and large the political and economic powers are not on board. I do not think Spain is willing to make a break alone, but would align itself with an European shift away from American control.

As Ms. Johnston says, Europe currently lacks leaders willing to take the plunge, but we will see what the coming year brings.

Sam F , May 17, 2020 at 17:45

Thank you Diana, these are valuable insights. Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders.

1. Waving the flag and praising the lord on mass media, claiming concern with human rights and "Israel"; while
2. Subverting the Constitution with large scale bribery, surveillance, and genocides, all business as usual nowadays.
In the US, the form of government has become bribery and marketing lies; it truly knows no other way.

It may be better that Russia and China keep their distance from the US and maybe even the EU:
1. The US and EU would have to produce what they consume, eventually empowering workers;
2. Neither the US nor EU are a political or economic model for anyone, and should be ignored;
3. Neither the US nor EU produces much that Russia and China cannot, by investing more in cars and soybeans.

It will be best for the EU if it also rejects the US and its "neolib" economic and political tyranny mechanisms:
1. Alliance with Russia and China will cause substantial gains in stability and economic strength;
2. Forcing the US to abandon its "pretensions of world hegemony" will soon yield more peaceful prospects; and
3. Isolating the US will force it to improve its utterly corrupt government and society, maybe 40 to 60 years hence.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:40

" French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world "

Brilliant. Exactly right. This was the progenitor to our contemporary I.D. politics which seems to be solely obsessed with vocabulary, semantics and non-economic cultural issues while rarely having a critique of corporate capitalism, militarism, massive inequality and Zionism. And it almost never advocates for robust economic populist proposals like Med4All, U.B.I., debt jubilee, and the fight for $15.

Drew Hunkins , May 17, 2020 at 15:10

The book is phenomenal. I posted a customer review over on Amazon for this stupendous work. Below is a copy of my review:

(5 stars) One of the most important intellects pens her magisterial lasting legacy
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2020

Johnstone's been an idol of mine ever since I started reading her in the 1990s. She's clearly proved her worthiness over the decades by bucking the mainstream trend of apologetics for corporate capitalism, neoliberalism, globalism and imperialistic militarism her entire career and this astonishing memoir details it all in what will likely be the finest book of 2020 and perhaps the entire decade.

Her writing style is beyond superb, her grasp of the overarching politico-socio-economic issues that have rocked the world over the past 60 years is as astute and spot-on as you will find from any global thinker. She's right up there with Michael Parenti, James Petras, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky as seminal figures who have documented and brought light to tens of thousands (millions?) of people across the globe via their writings, interviews and speaking engagements.

Johnstone has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and issues. Why? Simple, she has the facts and truth on her side, she always has. Circle in the Darkness proves all this and more, she marshals the documentation and lays it out as an exquisite gift for struggling working people around the world.

From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill.

Whenever she comes out with a new article or essay I immediately drop everything and devour it, often reading it twice to let her wisdom really soak in. So too Circle of Darkness is an extremely well written beautiful work that will scream out to be re-read every few years by those with a hunger to know exactly what was going on since the Korean War era through today regarding liberal thought, neocon and neoliberal dominance with its capitalist global hegemony and the take over of Western governments by the parasitic financial elite.

There will never be another Diana Johnstone. Circle in the Darkness will stand as her lasting legacy to all of us.

Bob Van Noy , May 17, 2020 at 14:43

"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it" ~Albert Einstein

Many Thanks CN, Patrick Lawrence, and Joe Lauria. Once again I must commend CN for picking just the appropriate response to our contemporary dilemma.

The quote above leads Diana Johnstone's new book and succinctly describes both the universe and our contemporary experience with our digital age. President Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle of France would agree that colonialism was past and that a new world (geopolitical) approach would become necessary, but that philosophy would put them against some great local and world powers. Each of them necessarily had different approaches as to how this might be accomplished. They were never allowed to present their specific proposals on a world stage. Let's hope a wiser population will once again "see" this possibility and find a way to resolve it

Aaron , May 17, 2020 at 14:18

Well over the span of all of those decades, the consistent, inexorable theme seems to be a trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, a small number of individuals, not really states, gaining wealth and power, so everybody else fights over the crumbs, blaming this or that party, alliance, event or whatever, but behind it all there are two flower gardens, indeed the rich are all flowers of their golden garden, and the poor are all flowers of their garden.

It's like the Europeans and the 99 percent in America have all fallen for the myth of the American dream, that if we are just allowed more free, unfettered economic opportunity, it's just up to us to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and become a billionaire.

The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens.

AnneR , May 17, 2020 at 13:42

Regarding French colonialism – as I recall the French were especially brutal in their forced withdrawal from Algeria, both toward Algerians in their homeland and to Algerians within France itself.

And the French were hardly willing, non-violent colonialists when being fought by the Vietnamese who wanted to be free of them (quite rightly so).

As for the French in Sub-Saharan Africa – they have yet to truly give up on their presumed right to have troops within these countries. They did not depart any of their colonies happily, willingly – like every other colonial power, including the UK.

And, as for WWII – she seems, in her reminiscences, to have mislaid Vichy France, the Velodrome roundups of French Jews, and so on ..

Ms Johnstone clearly has been looking backwards with rose-tinted specs on when it comes to France.

Randal Marlin , May 18, 2020 at 13:00

There may be some truth to AnneR's claim that Ms Johnstone has been looking with rose-tinted specs when it comes to France, but it is highly misleading for her to talk about "the French" regarding Algeria. I spent 1963-64 in Aix-en-Provence teaching at the Institute for American Universities and talked with some of the "pieds-noirs," (French born in Algeria).

After French President Charles de Gaulle decided to relinquish French control over Algeria, having previously reassured the colonial population that "Je vous ai compris" ("I have understood you"), there followed death threats to many French colonizers who had to flee Algeria immediately within 24 hours or get their throats slit – "La valise ou le cercueil" (the suitcase or the coffin).

In the fall of 1961, I saw Parisian police stations with machine-gun armed men behind concrete barriers, as an invasion by the colonial French paratroopers against mainland France was expected. The "Organisation Armée Secrète," OAS, (Secret Armed Organization) of the colonial powers, threatened at the time to invade Paris.

As an aside, giving a sense of the anger and passion involved, when the death of John F.Kennedy in November 1963 was announced in the historic, right-wing café in Aix, Les Deux Garçons, a huge cheer went up when the media announcer proclaimed "Le Président est assassinée. Only, that was because they thought de Gaulle was the president in question. A huge disappointment when they heard it was President Kennedy. To get a sense of the whole situation regarding France and Algeria I recommend Alistair Horne's "A Savage War of Peace."

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:23

"They did not depart any of their colonies happily"

Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons.

Despite the "best" efforts of the opponents and partly in consequence of the opponents' complicity, the PRC and the Russian Federation like "The United States of America" are not synonymous with the political geographical areas designated as "The People's Republic of China and The Russian Federation", are in lateral process of transcending linear systems of coercive relations and hence pose existential threats to "The United States of America".

The opponents are not complete fools but the drowning tend to act precipitously including flailing out whilst drowning; encouraging some to dispense with rose- tinted glasses, despite such accessories being quite fashionable and fetching.

OlyaPola , May 20, 2020 at 04:32

" .. their colonies "

Perception of and practice of social relations are not wholly synonymous. A construct whose founding myths included liberty, egality and fraternity – property being discarded at the last moment since it was judged too provocative – experienced/experiences ideological/perceptual oxymorons in regard to its colonial relations, which were addressed in part by rendering their "colonies" department of France thereby facilitating increased perceptual dissonance.

Like many, Randal Marlin draws attention below to the perceptions and practices of the pied-noir, but omits to address the perceptions and practices of the harkis whom were also immersed in the proselytised notion of departmental France, and to some degree continue to be.

This understanding continues to inform the practices and problems of the French state.

Lolita , May 17, 2020 at 12:05

The analysis is very much inspired from "Comprendre l'Empire" by Alain Soral.

Dave , May 17, 2020 at 11:27

Do not fail to read this interview in its entirety. Ms Johnstone analyzes and describes many issues of national and global importance from the perspective of an USA expat who has spent most of her career in the pursuit of what may be termed disinterested journalism. Whether one agrees or disagrees in whole or in part the perspectives she presents, particularly those which pertain to the demise (hopefully) of the American Empire are worthy of perusal.

Remember that this is not a polemic; it's a memoir of a lifetime devoted to reporting and analyzing and discussion of most of the significant issues confronting global and national politics and their social ramifications. And a big thanks to Patrick Lawrence and Consortium News for posting the interview.

PEG , May 17, 2020 at 09:11

Diana Johnstone is one of the most intelligent, clear-minded and honest observers of international politics today, and her book "Circle in the Darkness" – which expands on the topics and insights touched on in this interview – is certainly among the best and most compelling books I have ever read, putting the events of the last 75 years into objective context and focus (normally something which only historians can do, if at all, generations after the fact).

After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters".

Herman , May 17, 2020 at 09:00

Interesting comparison between the aspirations of De Gaulle and Putin.

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. His policy was to foster friendly relations on equal terms with all parts of the world, regardless of ideological differences. I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar. It is clearly a concept that horrifies the exceptionalists."

Agree with Johnstone.

OlyaPola , May 19, 2020 at 11:55

"Having a sense of history, de Gaulle saw that colonialism had been a moment in history that was past. "

Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest.

The exceptions to such strategies lay within constructs of settler colonialism which were addressed primarily through warfare – "The United States of America", Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola refer – to facilitate such future strategies.

"I think that Putin's concept of a multipolar world is similar."

As outlined elsewhere the concept of a multi-polar world is not synonymous with the concept of colonialism except for the colonialists who consistently seek to encourage such conflation through myths of we-are-all-in-this-togetherness.

[May 20, 2020] The American Mission and the Evil Empire The Crusade for a Free Russia Since 1881 by Foglesong

Highly recommended!
Paperback: 364 pages Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2007)
"Foglesong's book provides a panoramic view of American popular attitudes toward Russia, one that is illustrated with many arresting cartoons and magazine covers. It should provoke a wider debate about the rationality of evaluating Russia with reference to an idealized view of the United States, as well as the deeper sources of this tendency." -Deborah Welch Larson, H-Diplo
"In the 21st century, the American debate on the prospects of modernizing Russia and on the Americans' role in this process is still going strong even though it began more than a century ago. This is why David Foglesong's book aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of misrepresentations which threaten both Russian-American relations and the world security as a whole is of equal importance for the academic community and for the policy makers in both Russia and the United States."
-Victoria Zhuravleva, H-Diplo
"Foglesong demonstrates that powerful Americans have again and again seen the possibility, even necessity, of spreading the word to Russia, and then, when Russia fails to transform itself into something resembling the US, have recoiled and condemned Russia's perfidious national character or its leaders-most recently Putin. The author's singular achievement is to show that well before the cold war, Russia served as America's dark double, an object of wishful thinking, condescension and self-righteousness in a quest for American purpose-without much to show for such efforts inside Russia. The author thereby places in context the cold war, when pamphleteers like William F Buckley Jr and politicians like Ronald Reagan pushed a crusade to revitalise the American spirit. Russia then was a threat but also a means to America's end (some fixed on a rollback of the alleged Soviet "spawn" inside the US-the welfare state-while others, after the Vietnam debacle, wanted to restore "faith in the United States as a virtuous nation with a unique historical mission"). Foglesong's exposé of Americans' "heady sense of their country's unique blessings" helps make sense of the giddiness, followed by rank disillusionment, vis-...-vis the post-Soviet Russia of the 1990s and 2000s." -Stephen Kotkin, Prospect Magazine -Stephen Kotkin, Prospect Magazine
Notable quotes:
"... For example, Foglesong argued that "a vital factor in the revival of the crusade in the 1970s was the need to expunge doubts about American virtue instilled by the Vietnam War, revelations about CIA covert actions, and the Watergate scandal." ..."
"... By tracing American representations of Russia over the last 130 years, Foglesong illuminated three of the strongest notions that have informed American attitudes toward Russia: (1) a messianic faith that America could inspire sweeping overnight transformation from autocracy to democracy; (2) a notion that despite historic differences, Russia and America are very much akin, so that Russia, more than any other country, is America's "dark double;" (3) an extreme antipathy to "evil" leaders who Americans blame for thwarting what they believe to be the natural triumph of the American mission. These expectations and emotions continue to effect how American journalists and politicians write and talk about Russia. "My hope," Foglesong concluded, "is that by seeing how these attitudes have distorted American views of Russia for more than a century, we may begin to be able to escape their grip." ..."
"... The usefulness of Russia as bogeyman for all that is wrong in the world - a contrasting foil to the virtues of "us" - has defined this relationship ever since the first democratic stirrings in Russia following the Emancipation of '61. In this it followed Britain, who'd long demonized Russia since imperial rivalries over the Crimea. ..."
"... This trope was also successful for reactionaries in blocking progressive legislation at home. Ronald Reagan was perhaps the most successful in this linkmanship: "socialized medicine" was the first step to the gulags. ..."
"... T he flak over Pus*y Riot following this book's publication - while ignoring the crucifixion of the Dixie Chicks - demonstrates the double standard is too convenient to be allowed to wither. The empire must always be evil, precisely because it reflects our own image like a Buddhist truth mirror. ..."
May 20, 2020 | www.amazon.com

"By 1905," Foglesong stated, "this fundamental reorientation of American views of Russia had set up a historical pattern in which missionary zeal and messianic euphoria would be followed by disenchantment and embittered denunciation of Russia's evil and oppressive rulers." The first cycle, according to Foglesong, culminated in 1905, when the October Manifesto, perceived initially by Americans as a transformation to democracy, gave way to a violent socialist revolt. Foglesong observed similar cycles of euphoria to despair during the collapse of the tsarist government in 1917, during the partial religious revival of World War II, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s

Crucial to Foglesong's analysis was how these cycles coincided with a contemporaneous need to deflect attention away from America's own blemishes and enhance America's claim to its global mission.

For example, Foglesong argued that "a vital factor in the revival of the crusade in the 1970s was the need to expunge doubts about American virtue instilled by the Vietnam War, revelations about CIA covert actions, and the Watergate scandal."

By tracing American representations of Russia over the last 130 years, Foglesong illuminated three of the strongest notions that have informed American attitudes toward Russia: (1) a messianic faith that America could inspire sweeping overnight transformation from autocracy to democracy; (2) a notion that despite historic differences, Russia and America are very much akin, so that Russia, more than any other country, is America's "dark double;" (3) an extreme antipathy to "evil" leaders who Americans blame for thwarting what they believe to be the natural triumph of the American mission. These expectations and emotions continue to effect how American journalists and politicians write and talk about Russia. "My hope," Foglesong concluded, "is that by seeing how these attitudes have distorted American views of Russia for more than a century, we may begin to be able to escape their grip."

The Adventures of Straw Man Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2013 This has been the essential function of US Russia policy, as David Foglesong shows in his century-long tour.

The usefulness of Russia as bogeyman for all that is wrong in the world - a contrasting foil to the virtues of "us" - has defined this relationship ever since the first democratic stirrings in Russia following the Emancipation of '61. In this it followed Britain, who'd long demonized Russia since imperial rivalries over the Crimea.

This trope was also successful for reactionaries in blocking progressive legislation at home. Ronald Reagan was perhaps the most successful in this linkmanship: "socialized medicine" was the first step to the gulags.

The crusade against US civil rights - of which Reagan was also a part in his early career - as Communist-inspired tinkering with the Constitution was much less successful. His support for free trade unions in the Soviet Bloc while crushing them at home underscored the irony.

But Foglesong is much too generous in evaluating Reagan's human decency as a policy motive. Reagan pursued his grand rollback strategy by any means necessary, mixing hard tactics (contras, death-squad funding, mujahadin, Star Wars) with soft (democracy-enhancement, human rights, meeting with Gorbachev). Solidarity activists in Poland might remember his crusading fondly; survivors of the Salvadoran civil war will not.

The "crisis" with the Putin regime currently empowered shows the missionary impulse yet alive: projecting one's reforming instincts upon others rather than at home. T he flak over Pus*y Riot following this book's publication - while ignoring the crucifixion of the Dixie Chicks - demonstrates the double standard is too convenient to be allowed to wither. The empire must always be evil, precisely because it reflects our own image like a Buddhist truth mirror.

I do find it puzzling that Foglesong made no mention of Maurice Hindus, the prolific popular "explainer" of Russia in over a dozen mid-century books; and the notorious defector Victor Kravchenko and his best-selling memoir of the 1940s (ghost-written by Eugene Lyons, another popular anti-Soviet scribe). Both were much more influential in the public and political mind than many of the more obscure missionary authors Foglesong does cite. Nevertheless, Foglesong has offered a generous helping of cultural/political history that shows no signs of growing stale.

>

indah nuritasari , Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2012

A Good Book About America and The Cold War

This book tells a fascinating story of American efforts to liberate and remake Russia since the 1880s. It starts with the story of Tsar Alexander II's asasination on March 1, 1881 and how James William Buel, a Missoury Journalist wrote it in his book "Russian Nihilism and Exile Life in Siberia."

The story continues until The Reagan era and "the Evil Empire," 1981-1989.

This book is very interesting and useful for history lovers, students, journalists, or general public. Here you can find all the "dark and exciting stuff" about the cold war, including the involvement of the journalists, political activists, diplomats, and even engineers.

It is really helpful for me as a new immigrant in the US to help me understand the US position and role in the Cold War Era. The language used in this book, though, is " kind of dry". A little editing for the next edition could be really helpful!!

[May 14, 2020] Interesting book "Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime " published in 2013 by PETER C G TZSCHE

May 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , May 12 2020 23:01 utc | 186

Interesting book "Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime " published in 2013 by PETER C GØTZSCHE

He points out "Science philosopher Karl Popper in "The Open Society and Its Enemies" depicts the totalitarian, closed society as a rigidly ordered state in which freedom of expression and discussion of crucial issues are ruthlessly suppressed. Most of the time, when I have tried to publish unwelcome truths about the drug industry, I have been exposed to the journal's lawyers, and even after I have documented that everything I say is correct and have been said before by others, I have often experienced that important bits have been removed or that my paper was rejected for no other reason than fear of litigation. This is one of the reasons I decided to write this book, as I have discovered that I have much more freedom when I write books. Popper would have viewed the pharmaceutical industry as an enemy of the open society.

Rigorous science should put itself at risk of being falsified and this practice should be protected against those who try to impede scientific understanding, as when the industry intimidates those who discover harms of its drugs. Protecting the hypotheses by ad hoc modifications, such as undeclared changes to the measured outcomes or the analysis plan once the sponsor has seen the results, or by designing trials that make them immune to refutation, puts the hypotheses in the same category as pseudoscience.

In healthcare, the open democratic society has become an oligarchy of corporations whose interests serve the profit motive of the industry and shape public policy, including that of weakened regulatory agencies. Our governments have failed to regulate an industry, which has become more and more powerful and almighty, and failed to protect scientific objectivity and academic curiosity from commercial forces."

Thats about it in a nutshell. Too bad the good scientists are all muzzled. Only the politicized fraudsters get the good press.

[Apr 12, 2020] There are christians who hold that the resurrection of Christ means that, although he died, he still lives on in the faith of his followers - a faith expressed by word and sacrament in the church.

Apr 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

C.G. ESTABROOK , Apr 12 2020 15:08 utc | 17

There are christians who hold that the resurrection of Christ means that, although he died, he still lives on in the faith of his followers - a faith expressed by word and sacrament in the church. The basic catholic objection to this is that it makes of the resurrection a religious event, one that makes a difference primarily to what happens in the church; whereas for the catholic tradition the resurrection is a cosmic event, it means that Christ is present to the whole world whether believers or not...

What had been a corpse, a cadaver, is now a living human body again, and much more, unimaginably more, humanly alive. [Jesus's] body is closer to us now than he ever could have been to his disciples in Galilee, and he is closer to the whole world. In the sacraments of the Church his bodily presence and contact reaches out to all humankind. Especially in the eucharist we are united to and in his body. And this is not a metaphor, a poetic image; we are united in a bodily contact of which our familiar bodily touching is just a pale shadow.

The gospel we preach is not about memories or ideals or profound thoughts. It contains all these things, but what it is about is the human person, Jesus, alive and present to us and loving us from his human heart. Our Easter faith is that we really do encounter Jesus himself: not a message from him, or a doctrine inspired by him, or an ethics of love, or a new idea of human destiny, or a picture of him, but Jesus himself. It is in this we rejoice. [Herbert McCabe OP]

[Apr 12, 2020] Hymn of the Cherubim, Tchaikovsky - Beautiful Christian Churches

Apr 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Patrick Morin 7 months ago

Friedrich Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake." It has never been as true as with this music.

smkelly1970 6 months ago

the fact that the best recordings of Russian choral music were made by the "atheist" USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir is ironic but also a testament to the power of the music.

nonius99 3 months ago

You can never match the Russian choirs... They aren't from this world... The tone, the voices, the sound... A true masterpiece...

usssanjacinto 1 6 months ago (edited)

This reminds me of the time I was in the navy, on a ship 500 miles off the Virginia coast. I was outside at night; no moon, no light from the ship, and pitch black. It was the first time in my life that I have ever seen a night sky filled with billions upon billions of stars. I became completely frozen with an awe I have never felt before. The night sky was covered entirely with light emitting from each and every star from distant galaxies. Even the ocean emitted light; a bright green glow from the plankton that floated across the surface, as far as the eye can see. Light was all around me, even in the midst of darkness. This music encapsulates what I felt looking upon that majestic starry night. It made me understand the passage, "The heavens declare the glory of God."

enigma4430 4 years ago

As a Westerner, as an American...this strikes me to the core, only an introspective people with a deep sense of humility and raw experience of life could produce such stark and beautiful music...may America and Russia find peace for we share the essence of this music between our peoples...

California Girl , 11 months ago (edited)

Absolutely outstanding. Russian music and especially choral music is unmatched. It expresses human yearning for the divine and immortal and Tchaikovsky clearly had unlimited access to heavens and cosmic powers. His music is universal and it appeals to the entire human race.

>

Living Proof , 2 weeks ago
Possibly the most beautiful and ethereal vocal composition ever - the harmonies and dynamics created by the performers are beyond words. Bravo Mr Tchaikovsky!
/span

>

[Mar 12, 2020] UNZ site has h undreds of books in html for free download:

Mar 12, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Wukchumni , March 12, 2020 at 2:04 pm

I'm re-reading A Confederacy of Dunces in keeping with the theme of our leadership.

farragut , March 12, 2020 at 2:37 pm

I tried reading that about 20 years ago, but it never engaged me. I'll have to give it another try.

Currently, I'm reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon for the third time. One of his best, in my opinion. But, I'd also recommend the System of the World trilogy. Slower-paced, but also tremendously satisfying.

lyman alpha blob , March 12, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Stay away from Stephenson's latest, Fall, or Dodge in Hell . I've loved everything else I've read by him, but this last one was truly execrable. I slogged through the whole thing, thinking there must be some point to it all, and there never was.

Sastun , March 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm

Stephenson can be incredibly hit or miss. I loved Anathem, Cryptonomicon, Zodiac, and Diamond Age, thought that anything Stephenson touched: cyberpunk, alt-history, sprawling world building, etc was pure gold. Then I read Reamde What a waste of a thousand pages.

Librarian Guy , March 12, 2020 at 5:01 pm

Confederacy is great, and I say that as a former New Orleanian . . .

If you like humor around absurd characters and their doings, I would recommend Charles Portis' works, all are good. He's best known for True Grit , but additionally both Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis are also outstanding. The latter is a lot of fun with secret societies, Theosophy & Masonry, that kind of social stew.

A bit more gentle in his absurdity than the over-the-top characters in Confederacy, but lots of fun.

Amfortas the hippie , March 12, 2020 at 5:32 pm

I picked up Anathem at random several years ago and it gave me a Nerdwoody.
I love constructed universes(LOTR, Dune) but that one was so subtle it was almost implied that there's all this s^^t going on.
you had to grow into it.

Given EITC, I just had a haul:
Harvey's "Neoliberalism", Mr Hudson's "Forgive them ", Ruskin's" Unto this Last"(currently involved), Frank's"Listen Liberal"(similarly involved), and EP Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class" this latter of which i've wanted to read for a long while.
All of them due to suggestions or mentions on NC in the last couple of years.
the first two and the last will hafta wait till all i'm doing is harvesting.

EITC + Spring Break + General Spingtime = Sudden Flurry of Activity.
2 sheds in progress sheep/goat and woodshed gigantic telephone poles set, ready for me to wander by and frame it in then another Barnraising Day(ribs, tater salad, beer, etc) to put the r-panel up(already pained red with yellow stripes(everything else is blue and green and purple) then the next however long for me to finish it up.
and i've planted more this year than i have in 20.
including around 80 black gallon+ pots with seeds/acorns i've picked up all over, or rooted cuttings of everything else i've come across.
and tons of manure.

so, only Light Reading for now.
for i am not worth shootin'.

Janie , March 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm

Amfortas, try that masterpiece article of social anthropology, The Nacirema, from about 1950. It's online.

AbateMagicThinking But Not Money , March 12, 2020 at 5:36 pm

A Conferacy of Dunces:

is one my "reference" books for hilarity with the added bonus that the title can be applied to so many situations (mainly political).

Pip-Pip!

ps Try "Puckoon" by the late, great Spike Milligan.

Fox Blew , March 12, 2020 at 2:40 pm

Wukchumni

A Confederacy of Dunces spoke to me! Funniest book I have ever read. And like you, I've re-read several times. Just seeing the title makes me laugh. :-)

russell1200 , March 12, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940 – John Kiszely
The British underfunded their military until too late. Which would have been o.k. up to a point, except they seemed to have no realization at this point how disparate the Nazi German capabilities were compared to their own.

When We Were Vikings – Andrew David MacDonald
A very nice coming of age tail of an adult mentally challenged young woman who is into Vikings and dealing with a family crisis.

Dune Navigator , March 12, 2020 at 3:09 pm

#Library-of-Psychohistory,_for_times_of_plague_and_famine (TM)____________
Anabasis by Xenophon
Muqaddimmah: an Introduction to History by ibn Khaldun
Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time by Johanna Nichols
Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend
The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas
Models of Discovery by Herbert Simon
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
Unifying the Mind by David Danks
Targeted Learning in Data Science: Causal Inference for Complex Longitudinal Studies by Mark Vanderlaan and Sherri Rose
Vladimir Propp and the Study of Structure in Hebrew Biblical Narrative by Pamela J. Milne
Washington Babylon by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein

Ignacio , March 12, 2020 at 7:58 pm

Albert Camus-The Plague is again a best-seller.

Billy , March 12, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Hundreds of books in html for free download:

https://www.unz.com/book/

Algernon Blackwood Anthony Hope Anthony Trollope Anton Chekhov Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Quiller-Couch Baroness Orczy Benjamin Disraeli Charles Dickens Dinah Craik E. Phillips Oppenheim Edith Wharton Elizabeth Gaskell Eugene Sue F. Marion Crawford G.A. Henty G.K. Chesterton George Gissing George Meredith Gertrude Atherton H. Rider Haggard H.G. Wells Hamlin
Garland Henry James Honore de Balzac etc

[Mar 07, 2020] The Surprising and Sobering Science of How We Gain and Lose Influence

Mar 07, 2020 | getpocket.com

Stories to fuel your mind. "We rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst." Brain Pickings |

Art by Shaun Tan for a special edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales .

Thoreau wrote as he contemplated how silence ennobles speech . In the century and a half since, we have created a culture that equates loudness with leadership, abrasiveness with authority. We mistake shouting for powerful speech much as we mistake force for power itself. And yet the real measure of power is more in the realm of Thoreau's "fine things."

So argues UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner in The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence ( public library ) -- the culmination of twenty years of research exploring what power is, what confers it upon an individual, and how it shapes the structure of a collective, a community, and a culture. Drawing on a wealth of social science studies and insights from successful teams ranging from companies like Pixar and Google to restorative justice programs in San Quentin State Prison, he demonstrates "the surprising and lasting influence of soft power (culture, ideas, art, and institutions) as compared to hard power (military might, invasion, and economic sanctions)."

Keltner writes:

Life is made up of patterns. Patterns of eating, thirst, sleep, and fight-or-flight are crucial to our individual survival; patterns of courtship, sex, attachment, conflict, play, creativity, family life, and collaboration are crucial to our collective survival. Wisdom is our ability to perceive these patterns and to shape them into coherent chapters within the longer narrative of our lives.

Power dynamics, Keltner notes, are among the central patterns that shape our experience of life, from our romantic relationships to the workplace. But at the heart of power is a troubling paradox -- a malignant feature of human psychology responsible for John Dalberg-Acton's oft-cited insight that "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Keltner explains the psychological machinery of this malfunction and considers our recourse for resisting its workings:

The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhancing the lives of others, but the very experience of having power and privilege leads us to behave, in our worst moments, like impulsive, out-of-control sociopaths.

How we handle the power paradox guides our personal and work lives and determines, ultimately, how happy we and the people we care about will be. It determines our empathy, generosity, civility, innovation, intellectual rigor, and the collaborative strength of our communities and social networks. Its ripple effects shape the patterns that make up our families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, as well as the broader patterns of social organization that define societies and our current political struggles.

[...]

Much of what is most unsettling about human nature -- stigma, greed, arrogance, racial and sexual violence, and the nonrandom distribution of depression and bad health to the poor -- follows from how we handle the power paradox.

Art by Olivier Tallec from Louis I, King of the Sheep, an illustrated parable of how power changes us .

What causes us to mishandle the power paradox, Keltner argues, is our culture's traditional understanding of power -- a sort of time-capsule that no longer serves us. Predicated on force, ruthlessness, and strategic coercion, it was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli's sixteenth-century book The Prince -- but it is as antiquated today as the geocentric model of the universe that dominated Machiavelli's day. What governs the modern world, Keltner demonstrates through two decades of revelatory studies, is a different kind of power -- softer, more relational, predicated on reputation rather than force, measured by one's ability to affect the lives of others positively and shift the course of the world, however slightly, toward the common good. He writes:

Perhaps most critically, thinking of power as coercive force and fraud blinds us to its pervasiveness in our daily lives and the fact that it shapes our every interaction, from those between parents and children to those between work colleagues.

[...]

Power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it an attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work. It lies in providing an opportunity to someone, or asking a friend the right question to stir creative thought, or calming a colleague's rattled nerves, or directing resources to a young person trying to make it in society. Power dynamics, patterns of mutual influence, define the ongoing interactions between fetus and mother, infant and parent, between romantic partners, childhood friends, teens, people at work, and groups in conflict. Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.

In a sentiment that parallels Thoreau's wisdom on silence and shouting, Keltner adds:

A new wave of thinking about power reveals that it is given to us by others rather than grabbed. We gain power by acting in ways that improve the lives of other people in our social networks.

One key consequence of the fact that power is given to us by others is its reputational nature -- an insight both disquieting to the ego and comforting to the soul, for we are inescapably social creatures. Keltner observes:

Our influence, the lasting difference that we make in the world, is ultimately only as good as what others think of us. Having enduring power is a privilege that depends on other people continuing to give it to us.

"Enduring" is an operative word in Keltner's premise. The "power paradox" is paradoxical precisely because those who manage to wrest power forcibly by the Machiavellian model may have power, or perceived power, for a certain amount of time, but that amount is finite. Its finitude springs from the attrition of the person's reputation. But the most troubling aspect of the power paradox is that even if a person rises to power by counter-Machiavellian means -- kindness, generosity, concern with the common good -- power itself will eventually warp her priorities and render her less kind, less generous, less concerned with the common good, which will in turn erode her power as her reputation for these counter-qualities grows.

Keltner cites a number of studies demonstrating these tendencies empirically -- poor people give to charity a greater portion of their income than rich people, those in positions of power exhibit more entitled behaviors, people who drive expensive cars are significantly crueler to pedestrians at crosswalks, and so forth.

But in reading these alarmingly consistent studies, I had to wonder about one crucial confound that remains unaddressed: People in positions of power also tend to be busier -- that is, they tend to have greater demands on their time. We know from the now-iconic 1970s Good Samaritan study that the single greatest predictor of uncaring, unkind, and uncompassionate behavior, even among people who have devoted their lives to the welfare of others, is a perceived lack of time -- a feeling of being rushed. The sense of urgency seems to consume all of our other concerns -- it is the razor's blade that severs our connection to anything outside ourselves, anything beyond the task at hand, and turns our laser-sharp focus of concern onto the the immediacy of the self alone.

Art from Anne Sexton's little-known children's book .

We know this empirically, and we know its anecdotal truth intimately -- I doubt I'm alone in the awareness that despite a deep commitment to kindness, I find myself most likely to, say, be impatient with a fellow cyclist when I feel pressed for time, when I know I'm running late. Even Keltner's famous and tragicomical study, which found that drivers of expensive cars are most inconsiderate to pedestrians, might suffer from the same confound -- those who can afford expensive cars are typically people we would deem "successful," who also typically have far greater demands on their time. So could it be that a scarcity of time -- that inescapable hum of consciousness -- rather than an excess of power is the true corrupting agent of the psyche?

And so another paradox lives inside the power paradox -- the more powerful a person becomes, the busier and more rushed she is, which cuts her off from the very qualities that define the truly powerful. What would the studies Keltner cites look like if we controlled not only for power, but for time -- for the perception of being rushed and demand-strained beyond capacity? (Kierkegaard condemned the corrosive effect of busyness nearly two centuries ago.)

Still, Keltner's central point -- that power in the modern world is "gained and maintained through a focus on others" -- remains valid and important. He considers the conscious considerations we can make in order to bypass the perils of the power paradox:

Handling the power paradox depends on finding a balance between the gratification of your own desires and your focus on other people. As the most social of species, we evolved several other-focused, universal social practices that bring out the good in others and that make for strong social collectives. A thoughtful practitioner of these practices will not be misled by the rush of the experience of power down the path of self-gratification and abuse, but will choose instead to enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting difference in the world. These social practices are fourfold: empathizing, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. All four of these practices dignify and delight others. They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action.

But "power" is one of those words -- like "love" and "happiness" -- to have become grab-bag terms for a constellation of behaviors, states, emotions, and phenomena. Noting that "a critical task of science is to provide clear nomenclature -- precise terms that sharpen our understanding of patterned phenomena in the outside world and inside the mind," Keltner offers elegant and necessary definitions of the distinct notions comprising the constellation of power in modern society:

POWER your capacity to make a difference in the world by influencing the states of other people.

STATUS the respect that you enjoy from other people in your social network; the esteem they direct to you. Status goes with power often but not always.

CONTROL your capacity to determine the outcomes in your life. You can have complete control over your life -- think of the reclusive hermit -- but have no power.

SOCIAL CLASS the mixture of family wealth, educational achievement, and occupational prestige that you enjoy; alternatively, the subjective sense you have of where you stand on a class ladder in society, high, middle, or low. Both forms of social class are societal forms of power.

In the remainder of The Power Paradox , Keltner goes on to examine, through a robust body of research bridged with intelligent insight, what we can do both as individuals and as a society to cultivate the qualities that empower us by empowering others and counter those that feed the most selfish and small-spirited tendencies of human nature. Complement it with Blaise Pascal's timeless 17th-century wisdom on the art of persuasion and philosopher Martha Nussbaum on human dignity and the nuanced relationship between agency and victimhood .

HT Shankar Vedantam / Hidden Brain

[Mar 01, 2020] Review of the book The Russians Are Coming, Again or New, imporved Soviet Threat by Harry Targ

Notable quotes:
"... In fact, Kuzmarov and Marciano say, Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe today reflects its perception of a threat from the United States and the NATO countries. For example, President George Herbert Walker Bush promised Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would not establish new military installations in Eastern Europe. With new NATO forward bases in Poland and the United States’ support of a coup in Ukraine, the Russians see the United States as having aggressive intent. From Russia’s vantage point United States threats to Soviet/Russian security have been a feature of East/West relations from the Russian Revolution, through the Cold War, to hostile relations with the United States in the twenty-first century. ..."
Mar 01, 2020 | monthlyreview.org

The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce
240 pp, $19 pbk, ISBN 978-1-58367-694-3
By Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano

Reviewed by Harry Targ for Socialism and Democracy, vol. 33 (2019), no. 2

The primary purpose of this book is to challenge the popular view that Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, represents a challenge to U.S. democracy much as the former Soviet Union was alleged to have been during the Cold War. The authors, taking The New York Times as their prime source, argue that what is called Russiagate, a story about the nefarious use of computer hacking, spying, and bribing and threatening to expose public figures, including President Trump, is being promoted day-after-day as the root cause of the outcome of the 2016 election. In addition, they suggest that those who vigorously embrace the Russiagate explanation of the 2016 election are claiming that Russia’s interference might be part of a longer-term Russian threat to American democracy. This is so because alleged hackers spread misinformation about candidates and issues, thus distorting dialogue and debate.

The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce

The authors review the charges of subversion of the elections that have been “proven”, or so The New York Times claims. The “proof” includes statements released by spokespersons from the FBI, the CIA and other national security agencies that Russian operatives, agencies, and private institutions have hacked social media with “fake news” about candidates running for office (especially, Hillary Clinton). Advocates of this view presume that such misinformation influenced the voter choices of the American electorate. These are the same institutions that figured so prominently in presenting distorted views of a Soviet “threat” during the Cold War that justified the arms race and massive U.S. military expenditures.

To illustrate the seriousness of the charges of the impact of Russia’s interference in the election they quote Thomas Friedman who claimed that the Russian hacking of the election was “…a 9/11 scale event. …that goes to the very core of our democracy.” Along with similar opinion pieces by Charles Blow, Timothy Snyder, and other columnists, news stories, Kuzmarov and Marciano say, have been replete with similar claims. The New York Times narrative concludes that the hacking and interference in the U.S. election is designed to promote victories of candidates for public office who would be sympathetic, and subservient to Russia. The long-range goal of Russia, their stories suggest, is to promote Russian expansionism and its restoration to great power status.

After developing their critique of the Russiagate narrative, Kuzmarov and Marciano, make the case that United States foreign policy since 1917 has been motivated by the desire to crush the Russian Revolution and limit the influence and power of the Soviet Union in world affairs. The Russiagate narrative, they suggest, is primarily a continuation of the story each U.S. administration told the American people about a “Soviet threat” to justify the escalation of the arms race and military spending. They argue that proponents of the Russiagate scenario promote the idea of a new “Russian threat.”

In fact, Kuzmarov and Marciano say, Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe today reflects its perception of a threat from the United States and the NATO countries. For example, President George Herbert Walker Bush promised Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would not establish new military installations in Eastern Europe. With new NATO forward bases in Poland and the United States’ support of a coup in Ukraine, the Russians see the United States as having aggressive intent. From Russia’s vantage point United States threats to Soviet/Russian security have been a feature of East/West relations from the Russian Revolution, through the Cold War, to hostile relations with the United States in the twenty-first century.

All too briefly, Kuzmarov and Marciano review the history of the root causes of the United States’ Cold War policy, the lies perpetrated about the Soviet threat, and the enormous damage Cold War policies did to the American people and the victims of war around the world. For those who have not lived through the Cold War and students who are not taught about alternative narratives to “American exceptionalism” this brief volume is very useful. It draws upon the best of historical revisionist scholarship, including the works of William Appleman Williams, Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, Gar Alperowitz, and Ellen Schrecker. It has chapters on the onset of the Cold War and its causes; the attack by Cold War advocates on democracy; Truman, McCarthy, and anti-communism; and the war against the Global South. In sum, the story begins with the substantial U.S. military intervention during the Russian civil war after the Bolshevik victory and continues to Russiagate today.

The authors effectively develop their two main themes. First, they challenge the argument that Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, represents a threat to U.S. democracy much as the former Soviet Union was alleged to have done during the Cold War. They argue that the Russiagate narrative is fraudulent. Second, they briefly revisit the history of United States/Soviet/Russian relations to argue that the one-hundred-year conflict between the two sides was largely caused by United States’ imperial policies and that proponents of the Russiagate thesis seek to rekindle a new Cold War with Russia.

Harry Targ. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

[Jan 18, 2020] Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire is available for free download

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 17 2020 23:30 utc | 58

jef @48--

Yep! Hudson laid it all out in 1972, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire . The link allows you to freely download the 2nd edition published in 2003.

And in case you missed it on the multiple occasions I've linked it, "US Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses" .

The question on everyone's mind: When will the trumpet blare and the walls come tumbling down? And second to that, when will Iran take the next action in its avenging Soleimani's murder?

[Jan 11, 2020] William Greider Knew What Ailed the Democratic Party by Katrina vanden Heuvel

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "When the party of activist government, faced with an epic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disorders and heal deepening social deterioration, then it must be the end of the line for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson." ..."
"... Bill's frustration with what he referred to as "the rightward-drifting Democrats" ran deep. While his books often explored economic themes -- with particular brilliance in One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997) and Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1987) -- he was at his finest when he wrote about the awful intersection of money and politics, in books such as Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy (1992). ..."
"... Bill believed Wall Street money was corrupting American politics in general, and the Democratic Party in particular. Decades ago, during the Reagan interregnum, he warned that if the Democrats did not renew the robust commitment to economic justice that characterized FDR's tenure at its best, then surely right-wing populists would seize the opening. As always, whether he was writing for The Washington Post , Rolling Stone or The Nation (where he served as the ablest of all national affairs correspondents), Bill was right. ..."
"... The power arrangement resembles a shared monopoly, in which two companies have tacitly ceded territories to each other to avoid costly competition. ..."
"... Furthermore, the permanent hierarchy of both parties is dominated at the top by a network of pricey Washington lawyers and lobbyists who represent business interests and collaborate with one another on lobbying the government -- while pretending to be opponents. These inside players channel their corporate clients' money to the elected politicians. In effect, everyone is on the same side. ..."
Jan 01, 2020 | www.thenation.com

I knew Bill as a quick-witted comrade in the press corps of too many campaigns to count, a generous mentor, an ideological compatriot, and an occasional co-conspirator. He taught me to see politics not as the game that TV pundits discuss but as a high-stakes struggle for power in which the Democrats foolishly, and then dangerously, yielded far too much ground to increasingly right-wing Republicans. This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008,

I knew Bill as a quick-witted comrade in the press corps of too many campaigns to count, a generous mentor, an ideological compatriot, and an occasional co-conspirator. He taught me to see politics not as the game that TV pundits discuss but as a high-stakes struggle for power in which the Democrats foolishly, and then dangerously, yielded far too much ground to increasingly right-wing Republicans.

This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008, This son of the Depression era bemoaned the failure of the Democratic Party to make a New Deal–style response to the financial meltdown of 2008, explaining after the devastating Republican victories of 2010 , "When the party of activist government, faced with an epic crisis, will not use government's extensive powers to reverse the economic disorders and heal deepening social deterioration, then it must be the end of the line for the governing ideology inherited from Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson."

And, anticipating the rise of Donald Trump, he counseled that the void left by Democrats who pulled their punches would be filled by Republicans who would not hesitate to practice the crudest divide-and-conquer politics. And, anticipating the rise of Donald Trump, he counseled that the void left by Democrats who pulled their punches would be filled by Republicans who would not hesitate to practice the crudest divide-and-conquer politics.

Bill's frustration with what he referred to as "the rightward-drifting Democrats" ran deep. While his books often explored economic themes -- with particular brilliance in One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (1997) and Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1987) -- he was at his finest when he wrote about the awful intersection of money and politics, in books such as Who Will Tell the People? The Betrayal of American Democracy (1992).

Bill believed Wall Street money was corrupting American politics in general, and the Democratic Party in particular. Decades ago, during the Reagan interregnum, he warned that if the Democrats did not renew the robust commitment to economic justice that characterized FDR's tenure at its best, then surely right-wing populists would seize the opening. As always, whether he was writing for The Washington Post , Rolling Stone or The Nation (where he served as the ablest of all national affairs correspondents), Bill was right.

More than 30 years ago, he recognized that "the two-party rivalry is not nearly as significant as it's made to appear" and counseled that

The power arrangement resembles a shared monopoly, in which two companies have tacitly ceded territories to each other to avoid costly competition.

Furthermore, the permanent hierarchy of both parties is dominated at the top by a network of pricey Washington lawyers and lobbyists who represent business interests and collaborate with one another on lobbying the government -- while pretending to be opponents. These inside players channel their corporate clients' money to the elected politicians. In effect, everyone is on the same side.

The parties have begun to delineate themselves a bit more in recent years. But not sufficiently, as Bill explained in scorchingly honest articles for The Nation . He spoke inconvenient truths about the roots of our current politics, especially when he explained that "the Democratic Party's crude betrayal of the working class was carried out by Bill Clinton and Al Gore when those 'New Democrats' won power in 1992. The Clinton-Gore administration swiftly enacted NAFTA, with Republican votes, sealing the deal with Republican policy-makers and selling out the remnants of organized labor." Bill recognized the necessity of understanding this history in order to explain the rise of Trump and Trumpism.

Above all, Bill argued that for Democrats to seize the high ground, morally and electorally, they had to stop being a "managerial party" and reacquaint themselves with the message FDR delivered during an epically successful 1936 reelection run. That was the year when Roosevelt declared that

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace -- business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.

I don't know if Bill had that FDR speech memorized. But he carried its spirit in his heart and soul. And he taught the rest of us to do the same. He appreciated the history, as all great journalists do. But there was a point to its recollection. He wanted people to think about how a genuine two-party system might work in the 21st century.

The better part of two decades ago, Bill pointed to the way out when he wrote, for The Nation , on Republican scheming to roll back the economic and social advances initiated by progressives during the 20th century. It was sound advice then. It is sounder advice now, as a great wrestling for the soul of the Democratic Party plays out in the fight for the 2020 nomination to take on Trump.

"Most elected Democrats, I think, now see their role as managerial rather than big reform, and fear that even talking about ideology will stick them with the right's demon label: 'liberal,'" he suggested. But, he continued,

If a new understanding of progressive purpose does get formed, one that connects to social reality and describes a more promising future, the vision will not originate in Washington but among those who see realities up close and are struggling now to change things on the ground. We are a very wealthy (and brutally powerful) nation, so why do people experience so much stress and confinement in their lives, a sense of loss and failure? The answers, I suggest, will lead to a new formulation of what progressives want.

The first place to inquire is not the failures of government but the malformed power relationships of American capitalism -- the terms of employment that reduce many workers to powerless digits, the closely held decisions of finance capital that shape our society, the waste and destruction embedded in our system of mass consumption and production. The goal is, like the right's, to create greater self-fulfillment but as broadly as possible. Self-reliance and individualism can be made meaningful for all only by first reviving the power of collective action.

My own conviction is that a lot of Americans are ready to take up these questions and many others. Some are actually old questions -- issues of power that were not resolved in the great reform eras of the past. They await a new generation bold enough to ask if our prosperous society is really as free and satisfied as it claims to be. When conscientious people find ideas and remedies that resonate with the real experiences of Americans, then they will have their vision, and perhaps the true answer to the right wing.

This was how Bill Greider told the people of the politics that must be. He wrote truthfully, boldly, consistently, without fear or favor, and without the empty partisanships of these awkward times. He was our North Star.

[Jan 10, 2020] America's Hamster Wheel of 'Career Advancement' by Casey Chalk

Notable quotes:
"... Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World ..."
"... The problem is further compounded by the fact that much of the labor Americans perform isn't actually good ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We're told that getting ahead at work and reorienting our lives around our jobs will make us happy. So why hasn't it? Many of those who work in the corporate world are constantly peppered with questions about their " career progression ." The Internet is saturated with articles providing tips and tricks on how to develop a never-fail game plan for professional development. Millions of Americans are engaged in a never-ending cycle of résumé-padding that mimics the accumulation of Boy Scout merit badges or A's on report cards except we never seem to get our Eagle Scout certificates or academic diplomas. We're told to just keep going until we run out of gas or reach retirement, at which point we fade into the peripheral oblivion of retirement communities, morning tee-times, and long midweek lunches at beach restaurants.

The idealistic Chris McCandless in Jon Krakauer's bestselling book Into the Wild defiantly declares, "I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one." Anyone who has spent enough time in the career hamster wheel can relate to this sentiment. Is 21st-century careerism -- with its promotion cycles, yearly feedback, and little wooden plaques commemorating our accomplishments -- really the summit of human existence, the paramount paradigm of human flourishing?

Michael J. Noughton, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and board chair for Reel Precision Manufacturing, doesn't think so. In his Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World , Noughton provides a sobering statistic: approximately two thirds of employees in the United States are "either indifferent or hostile to their work." That's not just an indicator of professional dissatisfaction; it's economically disastrous. The same survey estimates that employee disengagement is costing the U.S. economy "somewhere between 450-550 billion dollars annually."

The origin of this problem, says Naughton, is an error in how Americans conceive of work and leisure. We seem to err in one of two ways. One is to label our work as strictly a job, a nine-to-five that pays the bills. In this paradigm, leisure is an amusement, an escape from the drudgery of boring, purposeless labor. The other way is that we label our work as a career that provides the essential fulfillment in our lives. Through this lens, leisure is a utility, simply another means to serve our work. Outside of work, we exercise to maintain our health in order to work harder and longer. We read books that help maximize our utility at work and get ahead of our competitors. We "continue our education" largely to further our careers.

Whichever error we fall into, we inevitably end up dissatisfied. The more we view work as a painful, boring chore, the less effective we are at it, and the more complacent and discouraged. Our leisure activities, in turn, no matter how distracting, only compound our sadness, because no amount of games can ever satisfy our souls. Or, if we see our meaning in our work and leisure as only another means of increasing productivity, we inevitably burn out, wondering, perhaps too late in life, what exactly we were working for . As Augustine of Hippo noted, our hearts are restless for God. More recently, C.S. Lewis noted that we yearn to be fulfilled by something that nothing in this world can satisfy. We need both our work and our leisure to be oriented to the transcendent in order to give our lives meaning and purpose.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that much of the labor Americans perform isn't actually good . There are "bad goods" that are detrimental to society and human flourishing. Naughton suggests some examples: violent video games, pornography, adultery dating sites, cigarettes, high-octane alcohol, abortifacients, gambling, usury, certain types of weapons, cheat sheet websites, "gentlemen's clubs," and so on. Though not as clear-cut as the above, one might also add working for the kinds of businesses that contribute to the impoverishment or destruction of our communities, as Tucker Carlson has recently argued .

Why does this matter for professional satisfaction? Because if our work doesn't offer goods and services that contribute to our communities and the common good -- and especially if we are unable to perceive how our labor plays into that common good -- then it will fundamentally undermine our happiness. We will perceive our work primarily in a utilitarian sense, shrugging our shoulders and saying, "it's just a paycheck," ignoring or disregarding the fact that as rational animals we need to feel like our efforts matter.

Economic liberalism -- at least in its purest free-market expression -- is based on a paradigm with nominalist and utilitarian origins that promote "freedom of indifference." In rudimentary terms, this means that we need not be interested in the moral quality of our economic output. If we produce goods that satisfy people's wants, increasing their "utils," as my Econ 101 professor used to say, then we are achieving business success. In this paradigm, we desire an economy that maximizes access to free choice regardless of the content of that choice, because the more choices we have, the more we can maximize our utils, or sensory satisfaction.

The freedom of indifference paradigm is in contrast to a more ancient understanding of economic and civic engagement: a freedom for excellence. In this worldview, "we are made for something," and participation in public acts of virtue is essential both to our own well-being and that of our society. By creating goods and services that objectively benefit others and contributing to an order beyond the maximization of profit, we bless both ourselves and the polis . Alternatively, goods that increase "utils" but undermine the common good are rejected.

Returning to Naughton's distinction between work and leisure, we need to perceive the latter not as an escape from work or a means of enhancing our work, but as a true time of rest. This means uniting ourselves with the transcendent reality from which we originate and to which we will return, through prayer, meditation, and worship. By practicing this kind of true leisure, well treated in a book by Josef Pieper , we find ourselves refreshed, and discover renewed motivation and inspiration to contribute to the common good.

Americans are increasingly aware of the problems with Wall Street conservatism and globalist economics. We perceive that our post-Cold War policies are hurting our nation. Naughton's treatise on work and leisure offers the beginnings of a game plan for what might replace them.

Casey Chalk covers religion and other issues for The American Conservative and is a senior writer for Crisis Magazine. He has degrees in history and teaching from the University of Virginia, and a masters in theology from Christendom College.

[Oct 06, 2019] Devop created huge opportunities for a new generation of snake oil salesman

Highly recommended!
Oct 06, 2019 | www.reddit.com

DragonDrew Jack of All Trades 772 points · 4 days ago

"I am resolute in my ability to elevate this collaborative, forward-thinking team into the revenue powerhouse that I believe it can be. We will transition into a DevOps team specialising in migrating our existing infrastructure entirely to code and go completely serverless!" - CFO that outsources IT level 2 OpenScore Sysadmin 527 points · 4 days ago

"We will utilize Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, Cloud technologies, python, data science and blockchain to achieve business value"

[Sep 21, 2019] In Praise of Mediocrity by Tim Wu

Notable quotes:
"... I'm a little surprised by how many people tell me they have no hobbies. It may seem a small thing, but -- at the risk of sounding grandiose -- I see it as a sign of a civilization in decline. The idea of leisure, after all, is a hard-won achievement; it presupposes that we have overcome the exigencies of brute survival. Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them. ..."
"... But there's a deeper reason, I've come to think, that so many people don't have hobbies: We're afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation -- itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age -- that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our "hobbies," if that's even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be. ..."
"... If you're a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you're training for the next marathon. If you're a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby -- you're a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber -- you'd better be good at it, or else who are you? ..."
"... Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it. Hobbies, let me remind you, are supposed to be something different from work. But alien values like "the pursuit of excellence" have crept into and corrupted what was once the realm of leisure, leaving little room for the true amateur. The population of our country now seems divided between the semipro hobbyists (some as devoted as Olympic athletes) and those who retreat into the passive, screeny leisure that is the signature of our technological moment. ..."
"... Liberty and equality are supposed to make possible the pursuit of happiness. It would be unfortunate if we were to protect the means only to neglect the end. ..."
"... Lest this sound suspiciously like an elaborate plea for people to take more time off from work -- well, yes. Though I'd like to put the suggestion more grandly: The promise of our civilization, the point of all our labor and technological progress, is to free us from the struggle for survival and to make room for higher pursuits. ..."
Oct 10, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

I'm a little surprised by how many people tell me they have no hobbies. It may seem a small thing, but -- at the risk of sounding grandiose -- I see it as a sign of a civilization in decline. The idea of leisure, after all, is a hard-won achievement; it presupposes that we have overcome the exigencies of brute survival. Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them.

Yes, I know: We are all so very busy. Between work and family and social obligations, where are we supposed to find the time?

But there's a deeper reason, I've come to think, that so many people don't have hobbies: We're afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation -- itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age -- that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our "hobbies," if that's even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.

If you're a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you're training for the next marathon. If you're a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby -- you're a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber -- you'd better be good at it, or else who are you?

Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it. Hobbies, let me remind you, are supposed to be something different from work. But alien values like "the pursuit of excellence" have crept into and corrupted what was once the realm of leisure, leaving little room for the true amateur. The population of our country now seems divided between the semipro hobbyists (some as devoted as Olympic athletes) and those who retreat into the passive, screeny leisure that is the signature of our technological moment.

I don't deny that you can derive a lot of meaning from pursuing an activity at the highest level. I would never begrudge someone a lifetime devotion to a passion or an inborn talent. There are depths of experience that come with mastery. But there is also a real and pure joy, a sweet, childlike delight, that comes from just learning and trying to get better. Looking back, you will find that the best years of, say, scuba-diving or doing carpentry were those you spent on the learning curve, when there was exaltation in the mere act of doing.

In a way that we rarely appreciate, the demands of excellence are at war with what we call freedom. For to permit yourself to do only that which you are good at is to be trapped in a cage whose bars are not steel but self-judgment. Especially when it comes to physical pursuits, but also with many other endeavors, most of us will be truly excellent only at whatever we started doing in our teens. What if you decide in your 40s, as I have, that you want to learn to surf? What if you decide in your 60s that you want to learn to speak Italian? The expectation of excellence can be stultifying.

Liberty and equality are supposed to make possible the pursuit of happiness. It would be unfortunate if we were to protect the means only to neglect the end. A democracy, when it is working correctly, allows men and women to develop into free people; but it falls to us as individuals to use that opportunity to find purpose, joy and contentment.

Lest this sound suspiciously like an elaborate plea for people to take more time off from work -- well, yes. Though I'd like to put the suggestion more grandly: The promise of our civilization, the point of all our labor and technological progress, is to free us from the struggle for survival and to make room for higher pursuits. But demanding excellence in all that we do can undermine that; it can threaten and even destroy freedom. It steals from us one of life's greatest rewards -- the simple pleasure of doing something you merely, but truly, enjoy.

Tim Wu ( @superwuster ) is a law professor at Columbia, the author of "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads" and a contributing opinion writer. A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 30, 2018 , on Page SR 6 of the New York edition with the headline: In Praise of Mediocrity.

[Aug 25, 2019] In defence of slakerism

Notable quotes:
"... This is probably the most innocuous manner in which your free labor adds to capitalist profit. The remainder of the film is devoted to showing far more sinister examples. ..."
"... We learn about the long hours some engineers working for a Japanese company put in just to keep pace with their workload. The company only decided to take ease up when the employees came in glassy-eyed and groggy in the morning after putting in unpaid overtime through the wee hours of the morning trying to complete a project on time. To make them more productive during normal working hours, the company cut off internet access and electricity after 7 pm. This did not stop the workers desperate to keep pace. They brought flashlights and portable routers with them and kept going. ..."
"... While engineers and computer programmers are notoriously gung-ho, other workers in more alienating occupations took other measures to get off the treadmill, namely suicide. The Japanese called this karoshi , or death by overwork. A restaurant manager forced to work 18 hour days could not take it any longer and jumped out of the upper story window of an office building. ..."
"... To subject workers to the clock's iron rule, it is necessary beforehand to make time-keeping itself an adjunct of the capitalist system. An hourglass is not suited to measuring activity in a 19 th century Manchester textile mill. ..."
"... Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him. ..."
"... If the labourer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist. ..."
"... One of the biggest breakthroughs was the time-clock that was invented only five years after the adoption of standard time globally. The two advances in capitalist control meshed together perfectly. Standard time made it possible to regulate global trade and transportation and the time-clock made it possible to regulate the human beings that produced the commodities that steamships and locomotives transported. ..."
"... When I got back to NY, I reported to my job as a database administrator at Goldman-Sachs. There, time equaled money. I wore a beeper and got used to phone calls late at night. I could put up with that but I never got used to fellow programmers glaring at me when I left at 5 pm. Like the Japanese engineers, they had a can-do spirit that came with their identification with a company I hated. Leaving aside my feelings toward the company, I had been in information systems for 20 years at that point and had put in more unpaid overtime over the years than had put in as programmers. I was at the point in life when leisure time meant a lot to me, especially when it was devoted to recruiting engineers and programmers to work in Nicaragua. ..."
"... Amazon warehouse workers are forced to pee in bottles or forego their bathroom breaks entirely because fulfillment demands are too high, according to journalist James Bloodworth, who went undercover as an Amazon worker for his book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain . Targets have reportedly increased exponentially, workers say in a new survey revealed over the weekend, and as result, they feel pressured and stressed to meet the new goals. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Slaves to the Clock by Louis Proyect As I have pointed out in previous reviews , Icarus, the New York film distributor, is far and away the most important source of anti-capitalist documentaries. In keeping with their commitment to class struggle cinema, "Time Thieves", their latest, hones in on the ways in which the capitalist system makes us slaves to the clock.

When I worked at a Boston bank in the early 70s, I kept Marx's words pinned to my cubicle wall:

The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it.

–Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

At the start of "Time Thieves", we see people of all ages at leisure enjoying themselves. After a minute or so, we see another cross-section of humanity trudging off to work or to school as narrator Sarah Davidson comments: "Under capitalism, time has become a resource with a huge economic value. And those profiting from it want as much of our time as possible. They even steal it from us."

Director Cosima Dannoritzer begins by showing the chaos that ensues when a new restaurant billed as completely staff-less opens up. Patrons save money by preparing the meals themselves, going one step further than the automats that enjoyed a heyday in the 30s through the 50s. In the kitchen, it is a miracle that those conned into trying this out did not lose a finger or suffer third-degree burns. I say conned because we soon learn that a restaurant workers union staged the whole thing to illustrate the importance of having trained professionals doing the work.

While this is an extreme case, how far are we from Jeff Bezos's automated version of Whole Foods when all you need is a smartphone and the willingness to do the work that clerks usually do but without pay? I got my first taste of this workerless future when I went to see Tarantino's latest at a multiplex on West 23 rd Street. There were only ticket-dispensing machines in the lobby that looked like ATMs. It might have saved me standing in a line to buy a ticket but I wasn't getting paid for my labor, as minimal as it was.

This is probably the most innocuous manner in which your free labor adds to capitalist profit. The remainder of the film is devoted to showing far more sinister examples.

We learn about the long hours some engineers working for a Japanese company put in just to keep pace with their workload. The company only decided to take ease up when the employees came in glassy-eyed and groggy in the morning after putting in unpaid overtime through the wee hours of the morning trying to complete a project on time. To make them more productive during normal working hours, the company cut off internet access and electricity after 7 pm. This did not stop the workers desperate to keep pace. They brought flashlights and portable routers with them and kept going.

While engineers and computer programmers are notoriously gung-ho, other workers in more alienating occupations took other measures to get off the treadmill, namely suicide. The Japanese called this karoshi , or death by overwork. A restaurant manager forced to work 18 hour days could not take it any longer and jumped out of the upper story window of an office building.

We meet immigrant poultry workers in the USA who were in constant surveillance every minute on the job, including being seen on CCTV on their way to a bathroom, where their minutes were closely monitored. This was part of a production system that was engineered to keep both workers and the animals they slaughtered as tightly controlled as those in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis", a film way ahead of its time.

To subject workers to the clock's iron rule, it is necessary beforehand to make time-keeping itself an adjunct of the capitalist system. An hourglass is not suited to measuring activity in a 19 th century Manchester textile mill.

Among the experts, we hear from in this eye-opening documentary is Robert Levine, the author of "A Geography of Time". He points out that standard time did not exist until 1883. Different cities had their own timeframes. This did not matter much to those living in a particular city but as cross-country or cross-oceanic transportation systems became the norm as capitalism developed, it was an obstacle to predictable and efficient outcomes. In one case, a train departing from Chicago crashed into one departing from New York on a section of track that only allowed one-way traffic coordinated through telegraph communications. In one particularly bad year, there were 180 such crashes. As part of the film's narrative power, we see archival footage of the aftermath of one.

Eventually, there was a recognition that time had to be standardized globally. The Eiffel Tower beamed a signal that the day had started at 12:00 am globally and local participants in this system recorded it on a "time ball" that was visible throughout a city. You can see still one at the Titanic Memorial, a lighthouse at the intersection of Fulton and Pearl in lower Manhattan.

Today, time management is done through atomic clocks that are accurate to the millionth of a second.

In Chapter 10 of Capital, titled "The Working Day", Marx describes the importance of controlling the time workers spent in the hellish textile mills of his age.

Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him.

If the labourer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist.

As the decades advanced from the time Marx wrote these words, the bourgeoisie invested heavily in "scientific" methods that could sharpen the fangs of the vampire.

One of the biggest breakthroughs was the time-clock that was invented only five years after the adoption of standard time globally. The two advances in capitalist control meshed together perfectly. Standard time made it possible to regulate global trade and transportation and the time-clock made it possible to regulate the human beings that produced the commodities that steamships and locomotives transported.

The bosses were always looking for ways to make workers even more like robots. It was up to Frank and Lilian Gilbreth to come up with methods that have become universal in mass production today, even to the point of making Amazon warehouse workers feel like they are in the 9 th circle of hell. They were "efficiency experts" whose research into time-motion resulted in productivity gains for the boss even if it left workers with carpal tunnel syndrome, shattered nerves, bloody accidents and all the rest. The Gilbreths only hoped to reduce extraneous motions through ergonomically designed workspaces but the capitalists who introduced their methods never considered the need for allowing the workers to carry out a task in a reasonable amount of time. If you've seen Charlie Chaplin walking maniacally down the street with a monkey wrench in each hand trying to tighten the buttons on a woman's dress in "Modern Times", you'll get an idea of the effects that time-motion studies can produce.

I am sure that if you see "Time Thieves", you'll be reminded of how these things come into play wherever you live. In the late 1980s, I made a couple of trips to Nicaragua to do a needs assessment for Tecnica, the technical aid project to aid the Sandinistas. If we set up a meeting for a ministry official at 10 am, we'd understand that they might be operating on "Nicaraguan time", which meant they might show up at 10:15 or even later. They never apologized since that was the way things worked in Nicaragua, where time-motion studies, time-clocks, etc. never came into play in an agricultural society. Once the meeting started, however, they were as serious as a heart attack as Michael Urmann, the founder of Tecnica, used to say.

When I got back to NY, I reported to my job as a database administrator at Goldman-Sachs. There, time equaled money. I wore a beeper and got used to phone calls late at night. I could put up with that but I never got used to fellow programmers glaring at me when I left at 5 pm. Like the Japanese engineers, they had a can-do spirit that came with their identification with a company I hated. Leaving aside my feelings toward the company, I had been in information systems for 20 years at that point and had put in more unpaid overtime over the years than had put in as programmers. I was at the point in life when leisure time meant a lot to me, especially when it was devoted to recruiting engineers and programmers to work in Nicaragua.

In 1967, E.P. Thompson wrote an article for the journal "Past and Present" titled " Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism " that thankfully can be read here. It provides a sweeping historical overview on how we ended up on this treadmill.

To start with, pre-class societies had a different understanding of time that we do. The Nuers of Ethiopia, a nomadic cattle-raising people, have a "cattle clock", the round of pastoral tasks that define their day. The Nandi people of Kenya, who also are nomadic cattle-raisers, break down their day into half-hours with 5-5:30 am understood as when oxen go off to graze, 7-7:30 am for the goats going to graze, etc. The Cross River natives of Nigeria were reported to say things like "the man died in less than the time in which maize is not yet completely roasted." (Less than 15 minutes).

Fast forward to the 18 th century and everything has changed, at least where the peasants have been turned into proletarians as a result of the Enclosure Act or, in Africa, simply forcing men and women into mines and plantations at gunpoint.

In England, it was where time thievery was most advanced. The man who owned Crowley Iron Works found it necessary in 1700 to write a 100,000-word in-house penal code to keep the workers in line.

From Order 40:

I having by sundry people working by the day with the connivence of the clerks been horribly cheated and paid for much more time than in good conscience I ought and such hath been the baseness & treachery of sundry clerks that they have concealed the sloath & negligence of those paid by the day .

From Order 103:

Some have pretended a sort of right to loyter, thinking by their readiness and ability to do sufficient in less time than others. Others have been so foolish to think bare attendance without being imployed in business is sufficient . Others so impudent as to glory in their villany and upbrade others for their diligence .

To the end that sloath and villany should be detected and the just and diligent rewarded, I have thought meet to create an account of time by a Monitor, and do order and it is hereby ordered and declared from 5 to 8 and from 7 to Io is fifteen hours, out of which take i? for breakfast, dinner, etc. There will then be thirteen hours and a half neat service .

Not much has changed by the evidence of the Amazon warehouse:

Amazon warehouse workers are forced to pee in bottles or forego their bathroom breaks entirely because fulfillment demands are too high, according to journalist James Bloodworth, who went undercover as an Amazon worker for his book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain . Targets have reportedly increased exponentially, workers say in a new survey revealed over the weekend, and as result, they feel pressured and stressed to meet the new goals.

"Time Thieves" is essential viewing to understand how all this came to pass. Currently, the film is being marketed to institutions like universities and libraries according to Icarus . I urge those in a position to make such a purchase to do so since the film will be of great value to sociology and political science students trying to develop a class analysis of a society turned to rot. Perhaps the film will become available eventually on Ovid , a consortium of distributors of such films that includes Icarus. Ovid is a very reasonably priced streaming service for documentaries, foreign-language films and indie productions that would be of keen interest to CounterPunchers. I have reviewed many of the films that can be rented there over the years and couldn't recommend them more highly. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Louis Proyect

Louis Proyect blogs at http://louisproyect.org and is the moderator of the Marxism mailing list. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.

[Jun 25, 2019] Understanding Society Herbert Simon's theories of organizations

Jun 25, 2019 | understandingsociety.blogspot.com

Understanding Society

Innovative thinking about a global world Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Herbert Simon's theories of organizations Image: detail from Family Portrait 2 1965 (Creative Commons license, Richard Rappaport)
Herbert Simon made paradigm-changing contributions to the theory of rational behavior, including particularly his treatment of "satisficing" as an alternative to "maximizing" economic rationality ( link ). It is therefore worthwhile examining his views of organizations and organizational decision-making and action -- especially given how relevant those theories are to my current research interest in organizational dysfunction. His highly successful book Administrative Behavior went through four editions between 1947 and 1997 -- more than fifty years of thinking about organizations and organizational behavior. The more recent editions consist of the original text and "commentary" chapters that Simon wrote to incorporate more recent thinking about the content of each of the chapters.

Here I will pull out some of the highlights of Simon's approach to organizations. There are many features of his analysis of organizational behavior that are worth noting. But my summary assessment is that the book is surprisingly positive about the rationality of organizations and the processes through which they collect information and reach decisions. In the contemporary environment where we have all too many examples of organizational failure in decision-making -- from Boeing to Purdue Pharma to the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- this confidence seems to be fundamentally misplaced. The theorist who invented the idea of imperfect rationality and satisficing at the individual level perhaps should have offered a somewhat more critical analysis of organizational thinking.
The first thing that the reader will observe is that Simon thinks about organizations as systems of decision-making and execution. His working definition of organization highlights this view:

In this book, the term organization refers to the pattern of communications and relations among a group of human beings, including the processes for making and implementing decisions. This pattern provides to organization members much of the information and many of the assumptions, goals, and attitudes that enter into their decisions, and provides also a set of stable and comprehensible expectations as to what the other members of the group are doing and how they will react to what one says and does. (18-19).
What is a scientifically relevant description of an organization? It is a description that, so far as possible, designates for each person in the organization what decisions that person makes, and the influences to which he is subject in making each of these decisions. (43)
The central theme around which the analysis has been developed is that organization behavior is a complex network of decisional processes, all pointed toward their influence upon the behaviors of the operatives -- those who do the action 'physical' work of the organization. (305)
The task of decision-making breaks down into the assimilation of relevant facts and values -- a distinction that Simon attributes to logical positivism in the original text but makes more general in the commentary. Answering the question, "what should we do?", requires a clear answer to two kinds of questions: what values are we attempting to achieve? And how does the world work such that interventions will bring about those values?

It is refreshing to see Simon's skepticism about the "rules of administration" that various generations of organizational theorists have advanced -- "specialization," "unity of command," "span of control," and so forth. Simon describes these as proverbs rather than as useful empirical discoveries about effective administration. And he finds the idea of "schools of management theory" to be entirely unhelpful (26). Likewise, he is entirely skeptical about the value of the economic theory of the firm, which abstracts from all of the arrangements among participants that are crucial to the internal processes of the organization in Simon's view. He recommends an approach to the study of organizations (and the design of organizations) that focuses on the specific arrangements needed to bring factual and value claims into a process of deliberation leading to decision -- incorporating the kinds of specialization and control that make sense for a particular set of business and organizational tasks.

An organization has only two fundamental tasks: decision-making and "making things happen". The decision-making process involves intelligently gathering facts and values and designing a plan. Simon generally approaches this process as a reasonably rational one. He identifies three kinds of limits on rational decision-making:

And he explicitly regards these points as being part of a theory of administrative rationality:
Perhaps this triangle of limits does not completely bound the area of rationality, and other sides need to be added to the figure. In any case, the enumeration will serve to indicate the kinds of considerations that must go into the construction of valid and noncontradictory principles of administration. (47)
The "making it happen" part is more complicated. This has to do with the problem the executive faces of bringing about the efficient, effective, and loyal performance of assigned tasks by operatives. Simon's theory essentially comes down to training, loyalty, and authority.
If this is a correct description of the administrative process, then the construction of an efficient administrative organization is a problem in social psychology. It is a task of setting up an operative staff and superimposing on that staff a supervisory staff capable of influencing the operative group toward a pattern of coordinated and effective behavior. (2)
To understand how the behavior of the individual becomes a part of the system of behavior of the organization, it is necessary to study the relation between the personal motivation of the individual and the objectives toward which the activity of the organization is oriented. (13-14)
Simon refers to three kinds of influence that executives and supervisors can have over "operatives": formal authority (enforced by the power to hire and fire), organizational loyalty (cultivated through specific means within the organization), and training. Simon holds that a crucial role of administrative leadership is the task of motivating the employees of the organization to carry out the plan efficiently and effectively.

Later he refers to five "mechanisms of organization influence" (112): specialization and division of task; the creation of standard practices; transmission of decisions downwards through authority and influence; channels of communication in all directions; and training and indoctrination. Through these mechanisms the executive seeks to ensure a high level of conformance and efficient performance of tasks.

What about the actors within an organization? How do they behave as individual actors? Simon treats them as "boundedly rational":

To anyone who has observed organizations, it seems obvious enough that human behavior in them is, if not wholly rational, at least in good part intendedly so. Much behavior in organizations is, or seems to be, task-oriented--and often efficacious in attaining its goals. (88)
But this description leaves out altogether the possibility and likelihood of mixed motives, conflicts of interest, and intra-organizational disagreement. When Simon considers the fact of multiple agents within an organization, he acknowledges that this poses a challenge for rationalistic organizational theory:
Complications are introduced into the picture if more than one individual is involved, for in this case the decisions of the other individuals will be included among the conditions which each individual must consider in reaching his decisions. (80)
This acknowledges the essential feature of organizations -- the multiplicity of actors -- but fails to treat it with the seriousness it demands. He attempts to resolve the issue by invoking cooperation and the language of strategic rationality: "administrative organizations are systems of cooperative behavior. The members of the organization are expected to orient their behavior with respect to certain goals that are taken as 'organization objectives'" (81). But this simply presupposes the result we might want to occur, without providing a basis for expecting it to take place.

With the hindsight of half a century, I am inclined to think that Simon attributes too much rationality and hierarchical purpose to organizations.

The rational administrator is concerned with the selection of these effective means. For the construction of an administrative theory it is necessary to examine further the notion of rationality and, in particular, to achieve perfect clarity as to what is meant by "the selection of effective means." (72)
These sentences, and many others like them, present the task as one of defining the conditions of rationality of an organization or firm; this takes for granted the notion that the relations of communication, planning, and authority can result in a coherent implementation of a plan of action. His model of an organization involves high-level executives who pull together factual information (making use of specialized experts in this task) and integrating the purposes and goals of the organization (profits, maintaining the health and safety of the public, reducing poverty) into an actionable set of plans to be implemented by subordinates. He refers to a "hierarchy of decisions," in which higher-level goals are broken down into intermediate-level goals and tasks, with a coherent relationship between intermediate and higher-level goals. "Behavior is purposive in so far as it is guided by general goals or objectives; it is rational in so far as it selects alternatives which are conducive to the achievement of the previously selected goals" (4). And the suggestion is that a well-designed organization succeeds in establishing this kind of coherence of decision and action.

It is true that he also asserts that decisions are "composite" --

It should be perfectly apparent that almost no decision made in an organization is the task of a single individual. Even though the final responsibility for taking a particular action rests with some definite person, we shall always find, in studying the manner in which this decision was reached, that its various components can be traced through the formal and informal channels of communication to many individuals ... (305)
But even here he fails to consider the possibility that this compositional process may involve systematic dysfunctions that require study. Rather, he seems to presuppose that this composite process itself proceeds logically and coherently. In commenting on a case study by Oswyn Murray (1923) on the design of a post-WWI battleship, he writes: "The point which is so clearly illustrated here is that the planning procedure permits expertise of every kind to be drawn into the decision without any difficulties being imposed by the lines of authority in the organization" (314). This conclusion is strikingly at odds with most accounts of science-military relations during World War II in Britain -- for example, the pernicious interference of Frederick Alexander Lindemann with Patrick Blackett over Blackett's struggles to create an operations-research basis for anti-submarine warfare ( Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare ). His comments about the processes of review that can be implemented within organizations (314 ff.) are similarly excessively optimistic -- contrary to the literature on principal-agent problems in many areas of complex collaboration.

This is surprising, given Simon's contributions to the theory of imperfect rationality in the case of individual decision-making. Against this confidence, the sources of organizational dysfunction that are now apparent in several literatures on organization make it more difficult to imagine that organizations can have a high success rate in rational decision-making. If we were seeking for a Simon-like phrase for organizational thinking to parallel the idea of satisficing, we might come up with the notion of "bounded localistic organizational rationality" : "locally rational, frequently influenced by extraneous forces, incomplete information, incomplete communication across divisions, rarely coherent over the whole organization".

Simon makes the point emphatically in the opening chapters of the book that administrative science is an incremental and evolving field. And in fact, it seems apparent that his own thinking continued to evolve. There are occasional threads of argument in Simon's work that seem to point towards a more contingent view of organizational behavior and rationality, along the lines of Fligstein and McAdam's theories of strategic action fields. For example, when discussing organizational loyalty Simon raises the kind of issue that is central to the strategic action field model of organizations: the conflicts of interest that can arise across units (11). And in the commentary on Chapter I he points forward to the theories of strategic action fields and complex adaptive systems:

The concepts of systems, multiple constituencies, power and politics, and organization culture all flow quite naturally from the concept of organizations as complex interactive structures held together by a balance of the inducements provided to various groups of participants and the contributions received from them. (27)
The book has been a foundational contribution to organizational studies. At the same time, if Herbert Simon were at the beginning of his career and were beginning his study of organizational decision-making today, I suspect he might have taken a different tack. He was plainly committed to empirical study of existing organizations and the mechanisms through which they worked. And he was receptive to the ideas surrounding the notion of imperfect rationality. The current literature on the sources of contention and dysfunction within organizations (Perrow, Fligstein, McAdam, Crozier, ...) might well have led him to write a different book altogether, one that gave more attention to the sources of failures of rational decision-making and implementation alongside the occasional examples of organizations that seem to work at a very high level of rationality and effectiveness.

[Apr 29, 2019] Slacker and the Failed Promises of the Internet

Notable quotes:
"... " Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognized in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself. It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do." -- from An Apology For Idlers by Robert Louis Stevenson ..."
"... The Palo Alto revolution led directly to our identity-based consumer culture, where atomistic nodes imagine themselves as anything they want to be, while at the same time being nudged, counted, quantified, and exploited in ways that have come to feel natural. ..."
"... In this sense, the internet was always fated to be more of a cross between gnosticism and finance rather than individualism and liberty. ..."
"... It's easy to say that it was a lie from the very beginning, but there are identifiable reasons why the dream of nonstop dialogue and fascinating conversation with time to "lean and loaf," as Whitman wrote, failed to realize itself. ..."
"... We've all experienced online over-saturation. It's the reason there's a sign hanging in my four-month-old daughter's pediatrician's office suggesting only two hours of "screen time" per day. ..."
"... As New School professor Dominic Pettman writes in his book Infinite Distraction , the internet tends to isolate us into niche, hyper-modulated experiences ..."
"... What the internet does is lodge us into tribal stalls in which we only interact (mediated through a screen, of course) with people who think and talk just like us. It's a breakdown into homogenous online tribes, and this disintegration of common culture based on a modicum of forced heterogeneity also means the death knell of the counterculture. You can't have a counterculture if there is no primary culture to counter, so to speak. ..."
"... "An attention economy dissolves the separation between the personal and the professional, between entertainment and information, all overridden by a compulsory functionality of communication that is inherently and inescapably 24/7." ..."
"... And most importantly, are young people even interested in that sort of autonomy anymore? Perhaps the most disturbing thing about my generation is how we've defined rebellion down, blurring its edges and oversimplifying it so it somehow still collates with online exposure. Millions of preening young people, posturing for one another, with no gesture unquantifiable and nothing learned that the algorithm hasn't taught them. ..."
"... Watching it now, though, you can't help but feel that we've traded older, deeper notions of freedom for a frenzied simulacrum of autonomy and monetized attention spans. ..."
"... Here’s how I read the failure of the internet: free enterprise killed it. The internet died when people started to be paid, full time, to create what was on it. Once that began, the rest was inevitable. Prior to its commercialization, which many early “netizens” fiercely resisted for precisely these reasons, the only things to be found online were labors of love and interest done by amateurs in the time a lone amateur has available to them. ..."
"... What killed the internet was the almighty dollar that those who will stop at nothing to pursue it. Nothing more, nothing less. ..."
"... It’s a different person that waits 3 minutes for a forum to load on a 28K connection and learns HTML to format their posts than the person who loads Facebook in 15 seconds and bangs out their political opinion in text message shorthand. ..."
"... We used to think of the internet as a special place like a fancy restaurant. Now the internet is just the Burger King built into the side of a Flying J that you stop at in your stained sweatpants to grab fries. ..."
Apr 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

" Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognized in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself. It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do." -- from An Apology For Idlers by Robert Louis Stevenson

I was born in 1983, just months after Time awarded Person of the Year to the computer. What that means is I'm an "Old Millennial," young enough to meme but old enough to have experienced a childhood lived largely offline and totally cell phone free. It was the perfect internet saturation point. I had web access, for instance, but it was dial-up and accessible solely on our shared family PC, which meant that if I was "surfing the web," everyone in my house was aware of it. I couldn't just stay online all day. People needed to use the phone, and besides, there weren't all that many sites to check out anyway.

Being online still had an allure of the new. It still crackled with the promise of an artificial paradise. It was a dream that hadn't yet been ruined by the banal realities of constant connectivity. We still believed that the world wide web would be the digital hub of an entire global village where ideas would be disseminated and shared, largely free of corporate or government control. It was to be a neutral dream space where the best and most fascinating parts of culture would form a wonderful chorus of voices harmonizing in a shared spirit of openness. The dream failed, of course. What we got instead was something more resembling gambling addiction: loneliness, psychological maladies, cyberbullying, and lots and lots of pornography. But for a kid like me, growing up in the Midwestern suburbs and hungry for contact with a larger world full of strange and interesting people, the internet's dream that failed resembled the trailer for Richard Linklater's film Slacker .

The connection between the failed promises of the internet and Linklater's film, which was shot 30 years ago this year (but not released until 1991), might not be obvious at first glance. Slacker is unfortunately one of those late '80s/early '90s cultural effluvia that got marketed to the masses as something it wasn't. Balled up with the early '90s countercultural gold rush -- Grunge, Liquid Television, Quentin Tarantino, etc. -- its formal ingenuity and big heart were mostly overlooked. The film itself is easy to describe. Largely eschewing traditional narrative structures, the camera moves from character to character in a series of long and meandering shots in which the bohemian elements of Austin, Texas, go about their day. Visually, it has a lot in common with Jim Jarmusch's early films like Permanent Vacation and Down By Law , but with a lot less ironic hipster posturing. There's a radical sense of freedom in Linklater's camera, celebrating the monologues and awkward conversation of Austin's eccentrics with a democratic large-heartedness that's Whitmanesque in its openness. Everyone is given their due, even the guy who claims that we've been on the moon since the '50s. Even the pinball-playing security guard. Even the anarchist professor. Even the young man who breaks into his home to rob him.

Of course, Slacker is about a place. It's about a specific street, in fact. The film was mostly shot on the eight blocks or so of Guadalupe Street, which skirt the University of Texas campus in downtown Austin. It's a place, as James L. Haley writes in the officially published screenplay, full of "space cadets, goonballs, punk groupies, gently aging iconoclasts, coffee-shop feminists-gone-'round-the-bend, conspiracy dweebs luring in used-book stores, artists, anti-artists, and a whole purgatory of other refugees from the world of productive sanity." What makes (or should I say "made," since the very tech world I'm criticizing has pretty much cannibalized the Slacker cast of characters and monetized their lifestyles) Austin such a wonderful pressure cooker for the counterculture type is the unique confluences of higher education, state government, and the mental hospital. In Austin, these three elements blend, blur, and mix freely.

And perhaps not more than a little ironically, these are also the three elements from which the early internet and online culture sprang. Begin with some ARPANET, add a little Defense-funded university research and quasi-countercultural notions of freedom, and you have the basic building blocks of what would become the internet. But even from its inception, the revolution in the lab was markedly different from what was happening in the streets. As Elliot Neaman writes in his book Free Radicals , "There were actually at least two countercultures in 1968. The street mutineers dreamed of a political revolution, which was acted out as theater, using old scripts. In the second, politics became personal; emancipation came in the form of consumer choices. The first was collectivist and failed, the second was libertarian, individualistic, futuristic, and carried the day."

"Libertarian" to a point, of course. The specter of total control via the internet was never far below the surface, and "individualism" became more of an advertising line than something deeply felt or pursued. The Palo Alto revolution led directly to our identity-based consumer culture, where atomistic nodes imagine themselves as anything they want to be, while at the same time being nudged, counted, quantified, and exploited in ways that have come to feel natural.

In this sense, the internet was always fated to be more of a cross between gnosticism and finance rather than individualism and liberty.

It's easy to say that it was a lie from the very beginning, but there are identifiable reasons why the dream of nonstop dialogue and fascinating conversation with time to "lean and loaf," as Whitman wrote, failed to realize itself. Two forces, both countervailing and moving in seemingly opposite directions, made it impossible to digitize the Slacker experience: online over-saturation and the breakdown of the internet into a series of "micro experiences."

When Tech Elites Lose Their Religion The Pornification of Everything

The first is obvious. We've all experienced online over-saturation. It's the reason there's a sign hanging in my four-month-old daughter's pediatrician's office suggesting only two hours of "screen time" per day. It's the reason people no longer know how to read maps or buy stamps . The internet has become more than an option -- it's how we think about the world and what we know within it. It's made itself necessary for the most anodyne and common of activities. That ubiquity might suggest a total conformity of thought and feeling, but the opposite is actually true. As New School professor Dominic Pettman writes in his book Infinite Distraction , the internet tends to isolate us into niche, hyper-modulated experiences . There's a certain amount of heterogeneity that you have to deal with in the real world, something that Slacker beautifully showcases. All the characters are misfits, but they're wildly different from one another. What the internet does is lodge us into tribal stalls in which we only interact (mediated through a screen, of course) with people who think and talk just like us. It's a breakdown into homogenous online tribes, and this disintegration of common culture based on a modicum of forced heterogeneity also means the death knell of the counterculture. You can't have a counterculture if there is no primary culture to counter, so to speak.

Something else we've lost is the Slacker ability to slack. The internet presents itself as quasi-entertainment, all the time, even if what you're doing is monetized, tracked, and encouraging of further quantifiable interaction. Simply put, it is no longer a giant, free hub of interaction. Instead, it's the most efficient way business has to colonize our attention and monetize our daily lives. As Jonathan Crary writes in his fantastic book 24/7 , "Billions of dollars are spent every year researching how to reduce decision-making time, how to reduce the useless time of reflection and contemplation. This is the form of contemporary progress -- the relentless capture and control of time and experience." He continues, "An attention economy dissolves the separation between the personal and the professional, between entertainment and information, all overridden by a compulsory functionality of communication that is inherently and inescapably 24/7."

Having so much of our experiences forced online means that most of our lives are inescapably subject to the quantify/monetize logos . Could one wander, unnoticed, along the fringes of society if one wanted to? Is it even possible to work half-ass at a McJob in order to spend your free time reading Maldoror out of the line of sight of someone trying to make a buck off of you? And most importantly, are young people even interested in that sort of autonomy anymore? Perhaps the most disturbing thing about my generation is how we've defined rebellion down, blurring its edges and oversimplifying it so it somehow still collates with online exposure. Millions of preening young people, posturing for one another, with no gesture unquantifiable and nothing learned that the algorithm hasn't taught them.

For me, Slacker is a melancholy artifact of what we've lost over the last 30 years. It's still recognizable in many ways. People continue to fret over climate change and analyze pop culture to death like the characters in the film do. Watching it now, though, you can't help but feel that we've traded older, deeper notions of freedom for a frenzied simulacrum of autonomy and monetized attention spans.

Scott Beauchamp's work has appeared in the Paris Review, Bookforum, and Public Discourse, among other places. His book Did You Kill Anyone? is forthcoming from Zero Books. He lives in Maine.

Axxr , says: April 25, 2019 at 11:05 pm

I was born before you, in the early 70s, and was there from the start as a geeky technology kid prodigy. I had a UUCP node starting in the early ’80s and email addresses when email started using bang-path-smarthost hybrids to leverage the newfangled DNS system for faster delivery.

Here’s how I read the failure of the internet: free enterprise killed it. The internet died when people started to be paid, full time, to create what was on it. Once that began, the rest was inevitable. Prior to its commercialization, which many early “netizens” fiercely resisted for precisely these reasons, the only things to be found online were labors of love and interest done by amateurs in the time a lone amateur has available to them.

It was the content specialist and the online application builder and the digital marketer who buried “Lena’s World of Ferns” beneath layers and layers of mindless sludge. It’s the same mindless sludge that was previously at the malls and the checkout counter newsstands, just moved online.

I suppose it was inevitable that as soon as there were people there, hucksters began to see dollar signs, but it’s still sad. Because the early internet—the amateur internet—was beautiful and engaging and fascinating and personal, and led to real life friendships as often as not.

What killed the internet was the almighty dollar that those who will stop at nothing to pursue it. Nothing more, nothing less.

ControlE , says: April 26, 2019 at 8:31 am
I’m 34, so I too am an “old millennial”. I shared a similar childhood growing up in the upper south/lower mid-west; though I wasn’t in the suburbs I was in the middle of nowhere- AOL was my connection to the world that I couldn’t get otherwise. I couldn’t ride my bike to my best friends house on a summer afternoon–it was a three mile ride on a busy two-lane highway—but we could chat on AIM.

Much to the chagrin of anyone who attempted to call the house I spent hours online in the summer. I was talking to a co-worker who is a bit older than me about this the other day. Back then the internet was a smaller place. It wasn’t easily accessible for everyone with a phone, there weren’t apps designed to walk even the most technophobic person through posting their opinions, there weren’t social media platforms where people stayed connected 24/7. Going online was still something you did: you went online, then you went offline.

When you interacted with people online the odds were pretty favorable that they were in roughly the same age range, they were tech savvy, and if you were interacting on a forum then you probably had a similar interest. Everyone was just better to each other online back then and I really think it’s because we were all pretty much the same type of person.

It’s a different person that waits 3 minutes for a forum to load on a 28K connection and learns HTML to format their posts than the person who loads Facebook in 15 seconds and bangs out their political opinion in text message shorthand.

We used to think of the internet as a special place like a fancy restaurant. Now the internet is just the Burger King built into the side of a Flying J that you stop at in your stained sweatpants to grab fries.

Could it be that I’m just getting old? Can I just blame it all on Gen Z and be done with it? Gen Z killed the internet!

Andrew , says: April 26, 2019 at 9:25 am
Slacker was a lot funnier, better written and more interesting when Linklater did it again 8 years later with the weird rotoscoping half animation, half live action in Waking Life with the skinny kid from Dazed and Confused.
Christopher Paris , says: April 26, 2019 at 3:47 pm
I was born in ’76 and my freshman year at UT Austin was in ’94. It was a really cool time, because most of the world still didn’t care all that much about what was going on in Austin, Texas. There were great independent radio stations, live music happening everywhere and packed record stores where discovering a new band/musician was a communal experience that required interacting with other human beings. Those were the days when people stood around in front of cd and record player listening stations to check it out before you bought something.

People were up all night smoking in the coffee shops, reading and debating with each other along the drag (Guadalupe). Across the street was the main computer lab, where you went if you wanted to use the Internet for free.

After I graduated, I left Austin for a professional degree and then work. For many years I longed to get back there. When I finally did in 2012, it was so overrun with moneyed hipsters that I left again after a couple of years. Maybe I’m just middle aged and jaded now, but the vibe in Austin feels to me like a packaged authenticity being sold by the real estate developers to move as many human beings as possible to Central Texas. Time marches on.

Jeeves , says: April 26, 2019 at 4:25 pm
If you reverse the last two digits of your birth year, you’ll have mine. So I was raised before television (if you want to talk about monetizing consumption). But I think much of what you say makes sense, and I thought you wrote it very well.

[Apr 28, 2019] Prisoners of Overwork A Dilemma by Peter Dorman

Highly recommended!
This is true about IT jobs. Probably even more then for lawyers. IT became plantation economy under neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... mandatory overwork in professional jobs. ..."
"... The logical solution is some form of binding regulation. ..."
"... One place to start would be something like France's right-to-disconnect law . ..."
"... "the situation it describes is a classic prisoners dilemma." ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

The New York Times has an illuminating article today summarizing recent research on the gender effects of mandatory overwork in professional jobs. Lawyers, people in finance and other client-centered occupations are increasingly required to be available round-the-clock, with 50-60 or more hours of work per week the norm. Among other costs, the impact on wage inequality between men and women is severe. Since women are largely saddled with primary responsibility for child care, even when couples ostensibly embrace equality on a theoretical level, the workaholic jobs are allocated to men. This shows up in dramatic differences between typical male and female career paths. The article doesn't discuss comparable issues in working class employment, but availability for last-minute changes in work schedules and similar demands are likely to impact men and women differentially as well.

What the article doesn't point out is that the situation it describes is a classic prisoners dilemma.* Consider law firms. They compete for clients, and clients prefer attorneys who are available on call, always prepared and willing to adjust to whatever schedule the client throws at them. Assume that most lawyers want sane, predictable work hours if they are offered without a severe penalty in pay. If law firms care about the well-being of their employees but also about profits, we have all the ingredients to construct a standard PD payoff matrix:

There is a penalty to unilateral cooperation, cutting work hours back to a work-life balance level. If your firm does it and the others don't, you lose clients to them.

There is a benefit to unilateral defection. If everyone else is cutting hours but you don't, you scoop up the lion's share of the clients.

Mutual cooperation is preferred to mutual defection. Law firms, we are assuming, would prefer a world in which overwork was removed from the contest for competitive advantage. They would compete for clients as before, but none would require their staff to put in soul-crushing hours. The alternative equilibrium, in which competition is still on the basis of the quality of work but everyone is on call 24/7 is inferior.

If the game is played once, mutual defection dominates. If it is played repeatedly there is a possibility for mutual cooperation to establish itself, but only under favorable conditions (which apparently don't exist in the world of NY law firms). The logical solution is some form of binding regulation.

The reason for bringing this up is that it strengthens the case for collective action rather than placing all the responsibility on individuals caught in the system, including for that matter individual law firms. Or, the responsibility is political, to demand constraints on the entire industry. One place to start would be something like France's right-to-disconnect law .

*I haven't read the studies by economists and sociologists cited in the article, but I suspect many of them make the same point I'm making here.

Sandwichman said...
"the situation it describes is a classic prisoners dilemma."

Now why didn't I think of that?

https://econospeak.blogspot.com/2016/04/zero-sum-foolery-4-of-4-wage-prisoners.html April 26, 2019 at 6:22 PM

[Apr 11, 2019] The Gospel According to Poroshenko: Politics, Religion, and the New Church of Ukraine by Nicolai N. Petro

Yale is the cradle of color revolution activists ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... with the creation of the OCU, the Ukrainian government has established a "state church," its own national brand of Christianity? President Poroshenko fervently denies this ..."
"... Finally, the global Orthodox community has not split, as many Western media outlets confidently predicted it would. [xxxvii] Instead, it has rallied around the beleaguered UOC-MP, highlighting the isolation of the Patriarch of Constantinople. ..."
Apr 04, 2019 | yalejournal.org
Religious conflict in Ukraine has been much in the news of late, ever since President Petro Poroshenko very publicly embraced the ambitious idea of creating a single, unified Orthodox Christian church out of the country's many Orthodox denominations. This idea, long dear to the hearts of Ukrainian nationalists, kept the issue on the front pages of the media in Ukraine, Russia, and other predominantly Orthodox countries for most of 2018.

Then, quite unexpectedly, he got his wish. On January 6, 2019, the Patriarch of Constantinople, primus inter pares among Orthodox Church hierarchs worldwide, granted Poroshenko a church document ( tomos ) designating the newly minted Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as the sole legitimate and independent Orthodox church in Ukraine. The question that many Orthodox Christians both in Ukraine and elsewhere are now asking themselves is, at what cost?

Poroshenko's achievement has evoked conflicts within both Ukraine and the rest of the Orthodox world. While he has gained the backing of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the rest of the Orthodox world has taken a wait-and-see attitude since, in the tradition of Orthodox Christianity, the consequences of these actions will not become fully manifest until far into the future.

The Tomos Wunderwaffe

What makes this turn of events so startling is that before October 2018 all the established autocephalous Orthodox Churches recognized the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, known colloquially as the UOC-MP by virtue of its close spiritual ties with the Moscow Patriarchate, as the sole canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine. [i] This church had been granted "independence and autonomy in its administration" by the extraordinary Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on October 27, 1990, nearly a year before Ukraine declared its own independence. [ii] Later, in 1992, the Metropolitan of Kiev, Filaret (Denisenko), having earlier lost his bid to become Patriarch of Moscow, proclaimed himself Patriarch of Kiev and set up his own Ukrainian Orthodox Church, known as the UOC-KP, or simply Kievan Patriarchate.

Since then, the UOC-MP, the UOC-KP, and the much smaller Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) have coexisted in tense, mutual non-recognition. Over the next quarter century, the Kievan Patriarchate would go on to establish over 4,000 parishes. By the end of 2018, however, at least two-thirds of the 18,000 Orthodox Christian parishes in Ukraine still swore allegiance to the UOC-MP. [iii]

Ukrainian nationalists have long found it troubling that the majority of the country attends a church whose nominal head resides in Moscow. On the wave of nationalism inspired by the 2014 Maidan Revolution and the war with Russia, therefore, they introduced legislation to change this. Draft law 4128 would have allowed parishes to transfer to another church's jurisdiction by a simple majority vote of those who self-identify with the community and participate in its religious life. [iv] Since these terms were not defined, critics worried that any organized group of intruders might be able to seize control of a parish and transfer it against the will of parishioners.

Draft law 4511 was even more intrusive. [v] It required that all religious charters explicitly endorse the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and laws of Ukraine (art. 3). Candidates for the leadership of religious organizations would require state approval (art. 5), as would any invitations to foreign religious leaders (art. 6). Finally, in the event of systematic violations of law, or collaboration with "military-terrorist groups," the state could terminate a religious organization (art. 7). Both laws were widely criticized by religious groups in Ukraine and were never even brought up for a vote. [vi]

What most people do not know, however, is that these laws were part of a strategy that had been developed within the presidential administration over the course of 2015. That year, Sergei Zdioruk and Vladimir Tokman, two senior analysts at the National Institute for Strategic Research (NISS), which prepares analyses for the presidential administration, wrote a report on the threat that the UOC-MP posed to Ukraine's statehood. [vii] They later published their analysis in the Ukrainian press, sparking an intense discussion.

Labeling it a "channel for the clerical occupation of Ukraine," Zdioruk and Tokman claimed that the UOC-MP assisted the rebels in Eastern Ukraine, and collaborated with the occupation in Crimea. These subversive activities, they suggested, could be effectively counteracted by the creation of a single local Orthodox church out of the Kievan Patriarchate and the AUOC. The authors predicted that the creation of such a church would lead to a "chain reaction" of calls for autocephaly from the Russian Orthodox Church throughout the former Soviet Union. Moreover, as the largest church in the Orthodox world, they pointed out that this new Ukrainian church could serve as a "reliable ally" of the Patriarchate of Constantinople (also known as the Ecumenical Patriarch). [viii]

Zdioruk and Tokman, therefore, called upon the government to adopt a nine-point program, worth reproducing in full because subsequent events have followed it with remarkable accuracy:

  1. The Ukrainian parliament should adopt draft law №1244 of 4 December 2014 and rename the UOC-MP the "Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine;"
  2. The government should begin a discussion on rescinding the property rights of the UOC-MP in all key national shrines;
  3. The government should prevent hierarchs of the UOC-MP from taking part in any public celebrations;
  4. Only those Orthodox organizations that have "shown a capacity for the socio-patriotic education of their flock" should be allowed to take part in government programs;
  5. All visits to Ukraine by the "odious activists and functionaries of the Russian Orthodox Church" should be forbidden;
  6. Civil servants who attempt to hinder the creation of a local Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be summarily removed, under the law of lustration;
  7. Current legislation on freedom of conscience and religious organizations should be amended to allow for legal action against religious organizations whose actions violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state, or evoke religious hatred;
  8. A "system of concordats" should be introduced to "force [religious organizations] . . . to work responsibly on an equal basis for the good of the entire Ukrainian people."
  9. Finally, the government should develop a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing set of initiatives aimed at establishing a local Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

When this plan was first conceived the achievement of autocephaly seemed highly improbable, since not a single Orthodox church recognized either the Kievan Patriarchate or the UAOC. By early 2018, however, Poroshenko's deputy chief of staff, Rostislav Pavlenko, came to believe that the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholemew I, might be willing to reconsider his position on Ukrainian autocephaly.

According to press accounts, Pavlenko took this idea to the president, promoting it is as a sort of Wunderwaffe or "silver bullet" that could sharply boost the president's abysmal ratings. [ix] When the tomos failed to materialize on the date that Pavlenko had promised, the president fired him, but kept him close by. Pavlenko now serves as the director the NISS, where he, Zdioruk, and Tokman continue to promote the eradication of the UOC-MP. [x]

In retrospect, therefore, Poroshenko's decision to make the divisive issue of autocephaly a "critical" issue less than a year before the upcoming presidential elections seems far less odd. While it alienates voters in Eastern and Southern Ukraine, these were never Poroshenko's voters to begin with. The president's electoral base lies almost exclusively in Western and Central Ukraine, which is also the regional base of the Kievan Patriarchate and of Ukraine's politically influential Greek Catholic Church. [xi] The president's problem, politically speaking, is that even there he was running a distant third.

To make it into the run-offs Poroshenko would first have to win decisively in the West and Center. This meant embracing a decidedly more nationalistic agenda, of which autocephaly from Moscow has long been a major part. [xii] Only after he makes it into the second round can he afford to broaden his appeal. This appears to be the strategy that Poroshenko has adopted, and it has brought from fourth or fifth place in the polls up to a strong second during the last weeks of the presidential campaign.

A Bit of Byzantine Geopolitics

While it is apparent how president Poroshenko benefits from the creation of a local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, what does the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholemew I, stand to gain from endowing it with exclusive legitimacy? Simply put, the chance to prove that he is still an influential figure in the Orthodox world. In the centuries since its own autocephaly, the size and influence of the Patriarchate of Moscow has waxed, while that of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has waned. In the current dispute over who has proper jurisdiction in Ukraine, therefore, the Ecumenical Patriarch makes four points.

First, that in the 1300s the Kievan metropolia moved to Moscow without the Ecumenical Patriarch's permission. Second, that the tomos of autocephaly granted to Moscow never included the metropolia of Kiev. Third, that when Moscow was granted the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev in 1686, it was on the condition that the latter commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as his ecclesiastical superior, "to demonstrate the canonical jurisdiction of Constantinople over this Metropolis." Finally, that "since Russia, as the one responsible for the current painful situation in Ukraine, is unable to solve the problem, the Ecumenical Patriarchate assumed the initiative of resolving the problem." [xiii]

The Moscow Patriarchate disputes each of these assertions . [xiv] More importantly, it is hard to avoid the impression that revisiting them many centuries later serves some more immediate purpose. Patriarch Bartholomew seemed to suggest as much, when he explained that he took up this issue at the insistence of "the honorable Ukrainian Government, as well as recurring requests by 'Patriarch' Philaret of Kiev" (quotation marks in the original). [xv]

This explanation has puzzled many Orthodox Christians. It is quite odd to say that the Ukrainian government has asked for autocephaly, since autocephaly cannot be granted to a country. It can only be granted to a canonical Orthodox Church, and all Orthodox churches, including the Patriarchate of Constantinople, were in agreement that the UOC-MP was that church. Finally, the UOC-MP itself had not asked for autocephaly, and emphatically rejected the intercession of the Ecumenical Patriarch. [xvi]

Second, since there was no alternative canonical church in Ukraine to receive autocephaly, a new church had to be set up quickly to receive its long-awaited independence. Reconciling the desires of the Kievan Patriarchate and AUOC, however, proved more difficult than expected. To facilitate matters the Ecumenical Patriarch sent two envoys to Ukraine to negotiate the following complicated dance: first, the lifting of the anathema against the leaders of the two schismatic churches; second, their acceptance of temporary oversight from the Ecumenical Patriarchate; third, the grant of autocephaly to the newly constituted local Orthodox Church. Under the best of circumstances this process could take decades. Thanks to the keen determination of Kievan Patriarch Filaret, and the engagement of president Poroshenko, however, it was all accomplished by the end of the year, just days shy of the official start of the presidential campaign. [xvii]

It is therefore easy to see why President Poroshenko took center stage at the Unifying Church Council held in the ancient cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev on December 15, 2018. From the podium, he congratulated his guests with "the final attainment of our Ukrainian independence from Russia," adding that "not a single patriot doubts the importance of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church for an independent Ukrainian state. Such a church is the spiritual guarantor of our sovereignty." [xviii]

A few unkind commentators noted that Poroshenko mentioned "Russia" twelve times and "God" only twice in his speech. On the whole, however, this nationally televised celebration of Ukrainian unity served brilliantly as a launching pad for the president's re-election campaign, which by that time had already adopted the slogan "Army, Language, Faith -- the army defends our land. The language defends our hearts. The church defends our soul." [xix] In 2019 this would be simplified into the more direct, "It's Poroshenko or Putin." [xx]

What Does the Future Hold for Ukrainian Orthodoxy?

In the weeks since the tomos of autocephaly, the government has continued to "grease the wheels" for the new OCU. On January 17, 2019, the Ukrainian parliament adopted law 4128-D, expanding the states' authority to register and monitor religious organizations. Earlier, on December 20, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament had passed law 5309, giving the UOC-MP just four months to officially change its name to the "Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine." It has refused, citing its administrative independence from the Russian Orthodox Church since 1990 and its registration as such in Kiev. [xxi] Both of these laws have evoked concern among religious rights organizations in Ukraine, who argue that they violate both the Ukrainian constitution and European human right conventions. [xxii]

Can one, therefore, conclude that, with the creation of the OCU, the Ukrainian government has established a "state church," its own national brand of Christianity? President Poroshenko fervently denies this. He insists that every Ukrainian retains the right to make his or her own choice in matters of faith, even though "in that church they are praying for the Russian authorities and armed forces that are killing Ukrainians," [xxiii] and that he, for one, cannot understand how such churches can be called Ukrainian. [xxiv]

But while it may be too early to call the OCU a state church, it is already abundantly clear that, for the president, the speaker of parliament, and the head of the security forces, the UOC-MP is the church of the enemies of the Ukrainian state, of those who "receive instructions from abroad and set up a fifth column." [xxv] This point is made emphatically each time the president declares that the Russian Orthodox Church is part of the Russian political system, [xxvi] and then describes the tomos as a "victory for Ukraine and a defeat for Russia, no less important, perhaps even more important, than victory at the front lines." [xxvii]

The fate of the UOC-MP thus serves as an important lesson to other civic and religious organizations about the dire consequences of contravening the political establishment. It is, after all, no secret that the cardinal sin of the UOC-MP, in the eyes of the government, has been its refusal to support the war effort in Eastern Ukraine, which Metropolitan Onufry calls a "fratricidal conflict" and a "civil war." [xxviii] With the establishment of the OCU and the simultaneous disestablishment of the UOC-MP, the full power of the state is on display, and all pretense of separation between church and state, as stipulated in article 35 of the Ukrainian Constitution, has been stripped away. [xxix]

At the same time, several other strong predictions have not come to pass. First, the UOC-MP has not shattered. The most optimistic estimate of the number of parishes that have transferred over to the OCU puts that figure at over 320. [xxx] This amounts to fewer than 3% of all UOC-MP parishes. The UOC-MP, meanwhile, says it is aware of only 36 voluntary transfers, and 111 that are still in dispute. [xxxi]

It is possible, of course, that the reality of a new church structure has yet to sink in. Still, it is telling that the geographical pattern of transfers has been precisely what anyone familiar with Ukrainian history would expect -- almost all have been in Western and Central Ukraine, almost none in the East and South. [xxxii]

This glaring divide helps explain why no other autocephalous Orthodox Church has yet recognized the OCU, or even congratulated the new Metropolitan of Kiev, Epiphanius (Dumenko) on his enthronement. Indeed, in an unprecedented rebuke of their presiding bishop, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the governing body of the monastics of Mount Athos in Greece refused his request to send an official representative to Epiphanius' elevation, saying that the OCU was indistinguishable from "the schismatic branch" formerly known as the Kievan Patriarchate. [xxxiii]

Also unexpected was the ease with which the new OCU accepted the constraints imposed upon it by the Patriarch of Constantinople under the terms of the tomos , such as the head of the OCU's demotion from patriarch to metropolitan. The OCU has also been forced to give up all its jurisdictions outside Ukraine, including its rather extensive and well-funded communities in the United States and Canada, which now fall under the administration of the Patriarch of Constantinople. [xxxiv] Any OCU clergyman dissatisfied with an administrative decision made by his superiors may now appeal directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch, whose decisions are final. Moreover, on matters of doctrine, the OCU pledges to adhere to "the authoritative opinion" of the Patriarch of Constantinople, who has now been granted areas under of personal jurisdiction ( stavropigia ) within Ukraine, alongside the OCU. [xxxv] Some view these conditions as part of an effort by the Ecumenical Patriarch to assert a claim to supremacy among his fellow hierarchs, which has only added to their reluctance to embrace the OCU. [xxxvi]

Finally, the global Orthodox community has not split, as many Western media outlets confidently predicted it would. [xxxvii] Instead, it has rallied around the beleaguered UOC-MP, highlighting the isolation of the Patriarch of Constantinople. With divisions on full display even within the Greek Orthodox community (in addition to the monks of Mount Athos, the Church of Cyprus has publicly criticized the creation of the OCU), other Orthodox churches have been reluctant to enter the fray for fear of further fracture. [xxxviii]

Instead of submitting in the face of political pressure from the governments of Ukraine, the United States, and Canada, [xxxix] the Orthodox world has responded in a time-honored fashion. It has slowed down its deliberative process and limited its interaction with political and religious opponents, in order to give them time to "come to their senses" (2 Timothy 2:26). That might occur soon, or it could take decades, or even centuries. Only God knows.

Politicians typically overlook this aspect of the Church's strategy for dealing with the secular world because they fail to appreciate that the Orthodox Church sees itself, first and foremost, as a supernatural actor, a tangible manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit. [xl] The modern view, that man is a political animal (ζῷον πoλιτικόν) whose actions ought to be evaluated through the prism of relations between the individual and the state, strikes most Orthodox social theorists as extremely narrow. In any political discourse, they say, some part of the universal and ultimate truth always gets lost. Orthodoxy, therefore, has no set preference for one form of politics over another, because that which is needful, right, and proper, simply lies beyond the ken of politics. [xli]

From an Orthodox religious perspective, therefore, fleeting political passions matter very little. The Orthodox liturgy, after all, begins with the admonition of Psalm 146:3, "Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation." Of far greater importance is the struggle for the soul of mankind, which is the Church's raison d'etre . As Orthodox Christians see it, therefore, the Church can always rely on one insurmountable advantage in any conflict with political actors -- its timeframe for success is eternity. One should, therefore, expect it to bide its time in its dealings with its opponents, confident in the promise that was once made to it, that even "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

About the Author Nicolai N. Petro (www.npetro.net) is Professor of Politics and Silvia-Chandley Professor of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. He writes frequently about church-state relations in Ukraine and Russia. His latest book, Ukraine in Crisis, was published by Routledge in 2017 (find it at https://www.routledge.com/Ukraine-in-Crisis/Petro/p/book/9781138292239).

[Mar 04, 2019] Workism Is Making Americans Miserable by Derek Thompson

Notable quotes:
"... Here's a fair question: Is there anything wrong with hard, even obsessive, work? ..."
"... But our desks were never meant to be our altars. The modern labor force evolved to serve the needs of consumers and capitalists, not to satisfy tens of millions of people seeking transcendence at the office. ..."
"... This mismatch between expectations and reality is a recipe for severe disappointment, if not outright misery, and it might explain why rates of depression and anxiety in the U.S. are "substantially higher" than they were in the 1980s, according to a 2014 study . ..."
"... they would spare the vast majority of the public from the pathological workaholism that grips today's elites, and perhaps create a bottom-up movement to displace work as the centerpiece of the secular American identity. ..."
Feb 24, 2019 | www.theatlantic.com

For the college-educated elite, work has morphed into a religious identity -- promising identity, transcendence, and community, but failing to deliver.

I n his 1930 essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren," the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek in the 21st century, creating the equivalent of a five-day weekend. "For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem," Keynes wrote, "how to occupy the leisure."

This became a popular view. In a 1957 article in The New York Times , the writer Erik Barnouw predicted that, as work became easier, our identity would be defined by our hobbies, or our family life. "The increasingly automatic nature of many jobs, coupled with the shortening work week [leads] an increasing number of workers to look not to work but to leisure for satisfaction, meaning, expression," he wrote.

These post-work predictions weren't entirely wrong. By some counts, Americans work much less than they used to. The average work year has shrunk by more than 200 hours . But those figures don't tell the whole story. Rich, college-educated people -- especially men -- work more than they did many decades ago. They are reared from their teenage years to make their passion their career and, if they don't have a calling, told not to yield until they find one.

Read: "Find your passion" is awful advice

The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.

1. THE GOSPEL OF WORK

The decline of traditional faith in America has coincided with an explosion of new atheisms . Some people worship beauty , some worship political identities , and others worship their children. But everybody worships something . And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants.

What is workism? It is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one's identity and life's purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.

Homo industrious is not new to the American landscape. The American dream -- that hoary mythology that hard work always guarantees upward mobility -- has for more than a century made the U.S. obsessed with material success and the exhaustive striving required to earn it.

No large country in the world as productive as the United States averages more hours of work a year. And the gap between the U.S. and other countries is growing. Between 1950 and 2012, annual hours worked per employee fell by about 40 percent in Germany and the Netherlands -- but by only 10 percent in the United States. Americans "work longer hours, have shorter vacations, get less in unemployment, disability, and retirement benefits, and retire later, than people in comparably rich societies," wrote Samuel P. Huntington in his 2005 book Who Are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity .

One group has led the widening of the workist gap: rich men.

In 1980, the highest-earning men actually worked fewer hours per week than middle-class and low-income men, according to a survey by the Minneapolis Fed . But that's changed. By 2005, the richest 10 percent of married men had the longest average workweek. In that same time, college-educated men reduced their leisure time more than any other group . Today, it is fair to say that elite American men have transformed themselves into the world's premier workaholics , toiling longer hours than both poorer men in the U.S. and rich men in similarly rich countries.

This shift defies economic logic -- and economic history. The rich have always worked less than the poor, because they could afford to. The landed gentry of preindustrial Europe dined, danced, and gossiped, while serfs toiled without end. In the early 20th century, rich Americans used their ample downtime to buy weekly movie tickets and dabble in sports . Today's rich American men can afford vastly more downtime. But they have used their wealth to buy the strangest of prizes: more work!

Read: Why do Americans work so much?

Perhaps long hours are part of an arms race for status and income among the moneyed elite. Or maybe the logic here isn't economic at all. It's emotional -- even spiritual. The best-educated and highest-earning Americans, who can have whatever they want, have chosen the office for the same reason that devout Christians attend church on Sundays: It's where they feel most themselves. "For many of today's rich there is no such thing as 'leisure'; in the classic sense -- work is their play," the economist Robert Frank wrote in The Wall Street Journal . "Building wealth to them is a creative process, and the closest thing they have to fun."

Workism may have started with rich men, but the ethos is spreading -- across gender and age. In a 2018 paper on elite universities, researchers found that for women, the most important benefit of attending a selective college isn't higher wages, but more hours at the office. In other words, our elite institutions are minting coed workists. What's more, in a recent Pew Research report on the epidemic of youth anxiety, 95 percent of teens said "having a job or career they enjoy" would be "extremely or very important" to them as an adult. This ranked higher than any other priority, including "helping other people who are in need" (81 percent) or getting married (47 percent). Finding meaning at work beats family and kindness as the top ambition of today's young people.

Even as Americans worship workism, its leaders consecrate it from the marble daises of Congress and enshrine it in law. Most advanced countries give new parents paid leave; but the United States guarantees no such thing. Many advanced countries ease the burden of parenthood with national policies; but U.S. public spending on child care and early education is near the bottom of international rankings. In most advanced countries, citizens are guaranteed access to health care by their government; but the majority of insured Americans get health care through -- where else? -- their workplace. Automation and AI may soon threaten the labor force, but America's welfare system has become more work-based in the past 20 years. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which replaced much of the existing welfare system with programs that made benefits contingent on the recipient's employment.

The religion of work isn't just a cultist feature of America's elite. It's also the law.

Here's a fair question: Is there anything wrong with hard, even obsessive, work?

Humankind has not yet invented itself out of labor. Machine intelligence isn't ready to run the world's factories, or care for the sick. In every advanced economy, most prime-age people who can work do -- and in poorer countries, the average workweek is even longer than in the United States. Without work, including nonsalaried labor like raising a child, most people tend to feel miserable. Some evidence suggests that long-term unemployment is even more wrenching than losing a loved one, since the absence of an engaging distraction removes the very thing that tends to provide solace to mourners in the first place.

There is nothing wrong with work, when work must be done. And there is no question that an elite obsession with meaningful work will produce a handful of winners who hit the workist lottery: busy, rich, and deeply fulfilled. But a culture that funnels its dreams of self-actualization into salaried jobs is setting itself up for collective anxiety, mass disappointment, and inevitable burnout .

In the past century, the American conception of work has shifted from jobs to careers to callings -- from necessity to status to meaning. In an agrarian or early-manufacturing economy, where tens of millions of people perform similar routinized tasks, there are no delusions about the higher purpose of, say, planting corn or screwing bolts: It's just a job.

Read: When "love what you do" pushes women to quit

The rise of the professional class and corporate bureaucracies in the early 20th century created the modern journey of a career, a narrative arc bending toward a set of precious initials: VP, SVP, CEO. The upshot is that for today's workists, anything short of finding one's vocational soul mate means a wasted life.

"We've created this idea that the meaning of life should be found in work," says Oren Cass, the author of the book The Once and Future Worker . "We tell young people that their work should be their passion. 'Don't give up until you find a job that you love!' we say. 'You should be changing the world!' we tell them. That is the message in commencement addresses, in pop culture, and frankly, in media, including The Atlantic ."

But our desks were never meant to be our altars. The modern labor force evolved to serve the needs of consumers and capitalists, not to satisfy tens of millions of people seeking transcendence at the office. It's hard to self-actualize on the job if you're a cashier -- one of the most common occupations in the U.S. -- and even the best white-collar roles have long periods of stasis, boredom, or busywork. This mismatch between expectations and reality is a recipe for severe disappointment, if not outright misery, and it might explain why rates of depression and anxiety in the U.S. are "substantially higher" than they were in the 1980s, according to a 2014 study .

One of the benefits of being an observant Christian, Muslim, or Zoroastrian is that these God-fearing worshippers put their faith in an intangible and unfalsifiable force of goodness. But work is tangible, and success is often falsified. To make either the centerpiece of one's life is to place one's esteem in the mercurial hands of the market. To be a workist is to worship a god with firing power.

2. THE MILLENNIAL WORKIST

The Millennial generation -- born in the past two decades of the 20th century -- came of age in the roaring 1990s, when workism coursed through the veins of American society. On the West Coast, the modern tech sector emerged, minting millionaires who combined utopian dreams with a do-what-you-love ethos. On the East Coast, President Clinton grabbed the neoliberal baton from Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and signed laws that made work the nucleus of welfare policy.

As Anne Helen Petersen wrote in a viral essay on "Millennial burnout" for BuzzFeed News -- building on ideas Malcolm Harris addressed in his book, Kids These Days -- Millennials were honed in these decades into machines of self-optimization. They passed through a childhood of extracurricular overachievement and checked every box of the success sequence, only to have the economy blow up their dreams.

Read: Millennial burnout is being televised

While it's inadvisable to paint 85 million people with the same brush, it's fair to say that American Millennials have been collectively defined by two external traumas. The first is student debt. Millennials are the most educated generation ever, a distinction that should have made them rich and secure. But rising educational attainment has come at a steep price. Since 2007, outstanding student debt has grown by almost $1 trillion, roughly tripling in just 12 years. And since the economy cratered in 2008, average wages for young graduates have stagnated -- making it even harder to pay off loans.

The second external trauma of the Millennial generation has been the disturbance of social media, which has amplified the pressure to craft an image of success -- for oneself, for one's friends and colleagues, and even for one's parents. But literally visualizing career success can be difficult in a services and information economy. Blue-collar jobs produce tangible products, like coal, steel rods, and houses. The output of white-collar work -- algorithms, consulting projects, programmatic advertising campaigns -- is more shapeless and often quite invisible. It's not glib to say that the whiter the collar, the more invisible the product.

Since the physical world leaves few traces of achievement, today's workers turn to social media to make manifest their accomplishments. Many of them spend hours crafting a separate reality of stress-free smiles, postcard vistas, and Edison-lightbulbed working spaces. "The social media feed [is] evidence of the fruits of hard, rewarding labor and the labor itself," Petersen writes.

Among Millennial workers, it seems, overwork and "burnout" are outwardly celebrated (even if, one suspects, they're inwardly mourned). In a recent New York Times essay, " Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? ," the reporter Erin Griffith pays a visit to the co-working space WeWork, where the pillows urge Do what you love , and the neon signs implore workers to hustle harder . These dicta resonate with young workers. As several studies show , Millennials are meaning junkies at work. "Like all employees," one Gallup survey concluded, "millennials care about their income. But for this generation, a job is about more than a paycheck, it's about a purpose."

The problem with this gospel -- Your dream job is out there, so never stop hustling -- is that it's a blueprint for spiritual and physical exhaustion. Long hours don't make anybody more productive or creative; they make people stressed, tired and bitter . But the overwork myths survive "because they justify the extreme wealth created for a small group of elite techies," Griffith writes .

Read: Millennials in search of a different kind of career

There is something slyly dystopian about an economic system that has convinced the most indebted generation in American history to put purpose over paycheck. Indeed, if you were designing a Black Mirror labor force that encouraged overwork without higher wages, what might you do? Perhaps you'd persuade educated young people that income comes second; that no job is just a job; and that the only real reward from work is the ineffable glow of purpose. It is a diabolical game that creates a prize so tantalizing yet rare that almost nobody wins, but everybody feels obligated to play forever.

3. TIME FOR HAPPINESS

This is the right time for a confession. I am the very thing that I am criticizing.

I am devoted to my job. I feel most myself when I am fulfilled by my work -- including the work of writing an essay about work. My sense of identity is so bound up in my job, my sense of accomplishment, and my feeling of productivity that bouts of writer's block can send me into an existential funk that can spill over into every part of my life. And I know enough writers, tech workers, marketers, artists, and entrepreneurs to know that my affliction is common, especially within a certain tranche of the white-collar workforce.

Some workists, moreover, seem deeply fulfilled. These happy few tend to be intrinsically motivated; they don't need to share daily evidence of their accomplishments. But maintaining the purity of internal motivations is harder in a world where social media and mass media are so adamant about externalizing all markers of success. There's Forbes ' list of this, and Fortune 's list of that; and every Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn profile is conspicuously marked with the metrics of accomplishment -- followers, friends, viewers, retweets -- that inject all communication with the features of competition. It may be getting harder each year for purely motivated and sincerely happy workers to opt out of the tournament of labor swirling around them.

Workism offers a perilous trade-off. On the one hand, Americans' high regard for hard work may be responsible for its special place in world history and its reputation as the global capital of start-up success. A culture that worships the pursuit of extreme success will likely produce some of it. But extreme success is a falsifiable god, which rejects the vast majority of its worshippers. Our jobs were never meant to shoulder the burdens of a faith, and they are buckling under the weight. A staggering 87 percent of employees are not engaged at their job, according to Gallup . That number is rising by the year.

One solution to this epidemic of disengagement would be to make work less awful. But maybe the better prescription is to make work less central.

This can start with public policy. There is new enthusiasm for universal policies -- like universal basic income, parental leave, subsidized child care, and a child allowance -- which would make long working hours less necessary for all Americans. These changes alone might not be enough to reduce Americans' devotion to work for work's sake, since it's the rich who are most devoted. But they would spare the vast majority of the public from the pathological workaholism that grips today's elites, and perhaps create a bottom-up movement to displace work as the centerpiece of the secular American identity.

On a deeper level, Americans have forgotten an old-fashioned goal of working: It's about buying free time. The vast majority of workers are happier when they spend more hours with family, friends, and partners, according to research conducted by Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. In one study, she concluded that the happiest young workers were those who said around the time of their college graduation that they preferred careers that gave them time away from the office to focus on their relationships and their hobbies.

How quaint that sounds. But it's the same perspective that inspired the economist John Maynard Keynes to predict in 1930 that Americans would eventually have five-day weekends, rather than five-day weeks. It is the belief -- the faith, even -- that work is not life's product, but its currency. What we choose to buy with it is the ultimate project of living.

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[Feb 26, 2019] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.

Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy.

Universal health care. Free higher education. Fair trade. The repeal of Citizens United. Trump offered a different response to the crisis. Like Sanders, he railed against global trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Trump's victory was fueled by right neoliberalism's culture of cruelty. While Sanders tapped into and mobilized desires for a more egalitarian and democratic future, Trump's promise was nostalgic, making America "great again" -- putting the nation back on "top of the world," and implying a time when women were "in their place" as male property, and minorities and immigrants were controlled by the state.

Thus, what distinguished Trump's campaign from more traditional Republican campaigns was that it actively and explicitly pitted one group's equality (white men) against everyone else's (immigrants, women, Muslims, minorities, etc.). As Catherine Rottenberg suggests, Trump offered voters a choice between a multiracial society (where folks are increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed) and white supremacy (where white people would be back on top). However, "[w]hat he neglected to state," Rottenberg writes,

is that neoliberalism flourishes in societies where the playing field is already stacked against various segments of society, and that it needs only a relatively small select group of capital-enhancing subjects, while everyone else is ultimately dispensable. 1

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

Mark Fisher, the author of Capitalist Realism, put it this way:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.4

I think that, for the first time in the history of U.S. capitalism, the vast majority of people might sense the lie of liberal, capitalist democracy. They feel anxious, unfree, disaffected. Fantasies of the good life have been shattered beyond repair for most people. Trump and this hopefully brief triumph of right neoliberalism will soon lay this bare for everyone to see. Now, with Trump, it is absolutely clear: the rich rule the world; we are all disposable; this is no democracy. The question becomes: How will we show up for history? Will there be new stories, ideas, visions, and fantasies to attach to? How can we productively and meaningful intervene in the crisis of neoliberalism? How can we "tear a hole in the grey curtain" and open up better worlds? How can we put what we've learned to use and begin to imagine and build a world beyond living in competition? I hope our critical journey through the neoliberal conjuncture has enabled you to begin to answer these questions.

More specifically, in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, our common-good sensibilities have been channeled into neoliberal platforms for social change and privatized action, funneling our political energies into brand culture and marketized struggles for equality (e.g., charter schools, NGOs and non-profits, neoliberal antiracism and feminism). As a result, despite our collective anger and disaffected consent, we find ourselves stuck in capitalist realism with no real alternative. Like the neoliberal care of the self, we are trapped in a privatized mode of politics that relies on cruel optimism; we are attached, it seems, to politics that inspire and motivate us to action, while keeping us living in competition.

To disrupt the game, we need to construct common political horizons against neoliberal hegemony. We need to use our common stories and common reason to build common movements against precarity -- for within neoliberalism, precarity is what ultimately has the potential to thread all of our lives together. Put differently, the ultimate fault line in the neoliberal conjiuicture is the way it subjects us all to precarity and the biopolitics of disposability, thereby creating conditions of possibility for new coalitions across race, gender, citizenship, sexuality, and class. Recognizing this potential for coalition in the face of precarization is the most pressing task facing those who are yearning for a new world. The question is: How do we get there? How do we realize these coalitional potentialities and materialize common horizons?

HOW WE GET THERE

Ultimately, mapping the neoliberal conjuncture through everyday life in enterprise culture has not only provided some direction in terms of what we need; it has also cultivated concrete and practical intellectual resources for political interv ention and social interconnection -- a critical toolbox for living in common. More specifically, this book has sought to provide resources for thinking and acting against the four Ds: resources for engaging in counter-conduct, modes of living that refuse, on one hand, to conduct one's life according to the norm of enterprise, and on the other, to relate to others through the norm of competition. Indeed, we need new ways of relating, interacting, and living as friends, lovers, workers, vulnerable bodies, and democratic people if we are to write new stories, invent new govemmentalities, and build coalitions for new worlds.

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

We need to stop turning inward, retreating into ourselves, and taking personal responsibility for our lives (a task which is ultimately impossible). Enough with the disimagination machine! Let's start looking outward, not inward -- to the broader structures that undergird our lives. Of course, we need to take care of ourselves; we must survive. But I firmly believe that we can do this in ways both big and small, that transform neoliberal culture and its status-quo stories.

Here's the thing I tell my students all the time. You cannot escape neoliberalism. It is the air we breathe, the water in which we swim. No job, practice of social activism, program of self-care, or relationship will be totally free from neoliberal impingements and logics. There is no pure "outside" to get to or work from -- that's just the nature of the neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power. But let's not forget that neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power is also a source of weakness. Potential for resistance is everywhere, scattered throughout our everyday lives in enterprise culture. Our critical toolbox can help us identify these potentialities and navigate and engage our conjuncture in ways that tear open up those new worlds we desire.

In other words, our critical perspective can help us move through the world with what Henry Giroux calls educated hope. Educated hope means holding in tension the material realities of power and the contingency of history. This orientation of educated hope knows very well what we're up against. However, in the face of seemingly totalizing power, it also knows that neoliberalism can never become total because the future is open. Educated hope is what allows us to see the fault lines, fissures, and potentialities of the present and emboldens us to think and work from that sliver of social space where we do have political agency and freedom to construct a new world. Educated hope is what undoes the power of capitalist realism. It enables affirmative speculation (such as discussed in Chapter 5), which does not try to hold the future to neoliberal horizons (that's cruel optimism!), but instead to affirm our commonalities and the potentialities for the new worlds they signal. Affirmative speculation demands a different sort of risk calculation and management. It senses how little we have to lose and how much we have to gain from knocking the hustle of our lives.

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

We can think of educated hope and affirmative speculation as practices of what Wendy Brown calls "bare democracy" -- the basic idea that ordinary' people like you and me should govern our lives in common, that we should critique and try to change our world, especially the exploitative and oppressive structures of power that maintain social hierarchies and diminish lives. Neoliberal culture works to stomp out capacities for bare democracy by transforming democratic desires and feelings into meritocratic desires and feelings. In neoliberal culture, utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective governing to competing for equality.

We have to get back that democractic feeling! As Jeremy Gilbert taught us, disaffected consent is a post-democratic orientation. We don't like our world, but we don't think we can do anything about it. So, how do we get back that democratic feeling? How do we transform our disaffected consent into something new? As I suggested in the last chapter, we organize. Organizing is simply about people coming together around a common horizon and working collectively to materialize it. In this way, organizing is based on the idea of radical democracy, not liberal democracy. While the latter is based on formal and abstract rights guaranteed by the state, radical democracy insists that people should directly make the decisions that impact their lives, security, and well-being. Radical democracy is a practice of collective governing: it is about us hashing out, together in communities, what matters, and working in common to build a world based on these new sensibilities.

The work of organizing is messy, often unsatisfying, and sometimes even scary. Organizing based on affirmative speculation and coalition-building, furthermore, will have to be experimental and uncertain. As Lauren Berlant suggests, it means "embracing the discomfort of affective experience in a truly open social life that no

one has ever experienced." Organizing through and for the common "requires more adaptable infrastructures. Keep forcing the existing infrastructures to do what they don't know how to do. Make new ways to be local together, where local doesn't require a physical neighborhood." 5 What Berlant is saying is that the work of bare democracy requires unlearning, and detaching from, our current stories and infrastructures in order to see and make things work differently. Organizing for a new world is not easy -- and there are no guarantees -- but it is the only way out of capitalist realism.

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

Getting back democratic feeling will at once require and help us lo move beyond the biopolitics of disposability and entrenched systems of inequality. On one hand, organizing will never be enough if it is not animated by bare democracy, a sensibility that each of us is equally important when it comes to the project of determining our lives in common. Our bodies, our hurts, our dreams, and our desires matter regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, or citizenship, and regardless of how r much capital (economic, social, or cultural) we have. Simply put, in a radical democracy, no one is disposable. This bare-democratic sense of equality must be foundational to organizing and coalition-building. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably fall back into a world of inequality.

On the other hand, organizing and collective governing will deepen and enhance our sensibilities and capacities for radical equality. In this context, the kind of self-enclosed individualism that empowers and underwrites the biopolitics of disposability melts away, as we realize the interconnectedness of our lives and just how amazing it feels to

fail, we affirm our capacities for freedom, political intervention, social interconnection, and collective social doing.

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

Thinking and acting against the biopolitics of disposability goes hand-in-hand with thinking and acting against dispossession. Ultimately, when we really understand and feel ourselves in relationships of interconnection with others, we want for them as we want for ourselves. Our lives and sensibilities of what is good and just are rooted in radical equality, not possessive or self-appreciating individualism. Because we desire social security and protection, we also know others desire and deserve the same.

However, to really think and act against dispossession means not only advocating for shared security and social protection, but also for a new society that is built on the egalitarian production and distribution of social wealth that we all produce. In this sense, we can take Marx's critique of capitalism -- that wealth is produced collectively but appropriated individually -- to heart. Capitalism was built on the idea that one class -- the owners of the means of production -- could exploit and profit from the collective labors of everyone else (those who do not own and thus have to work), albeit in very different ways depending on race, gender, or citizenship. This meant that, for workers of all stripes, their lives existed not for themselves, but for others (the appropriating class), and that regardless of what we own as consumers, we are not really free or equal in that bare-democratic sense of the word.

If we want to be really free, we need to construct new material and affective social infrastructures for our common wealth. In these new infrastructures, wealth must not be reduced to economic value; it must be rooted in social value. Here, the production of wealth does not exist as a separate sphere from the reproduction of our lives. In other words, new infrastructures, based on the idea of common wealth, will not be set up to exploit our labor, dispossess our communities, or to divide our lives. Rather, they will work to provide collective social resources and care so that we may all be free to pursue happiness, create beautiful and/or useful things, and to realize our potential within a social world of living in common. Crucially, to create the conditions for these new, democratic forms of freedom rooted in radical equality, we need to find ways to refuse and exit the financial networks of Empire and the dispossessions of creditocracy, building new systems that invite everyone to participate in the ongoing production of new worlds and the sharing of the wealth that we produce in common.

It's not up to me to tell you exactly where to look, but I assure you that potentialities for these new worlds are everywhere around you.

[Feb 08, 2019] War, Peace, and the Social Order (review) by Morten G. Ender

Notable quotes:
"... nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | muse.jhu.edu

Project MUSE Morten G. Ender

From: Social Forces
Volume 80, Number 1, September 2001
pp. 358-359 | 10.1353/sof.2001.0064

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: PEACE AND JUSTICE - Fogarty - 2009 - Peace & Change - Wiley Online Library

Social Forces 80.1 (2001) 358-359

Book Review
War, Peace, and the Social Order

War, Peace, and the Social Order. By Brian E. Fogarty. Westview Press, 2000. 236 pp. Cloth, $65.00; paper, $23.00.

A tank could be driven through the cleft of resources available for teaching about the intersection of peace, war, and military instructions from a sociological perspective. Filling this pedagogical gap is especially important in the so-called post-Cold War era where lines between war and peace have become increasingly blurred.

War, Peace, and Social Order (WPSO) begins to fill the gap. WPSO contains a list of acronyms, two hemispheric maps of the world, six tables, 11 figures, an index, and eight chapters. Each chapter concludes with a brief chapter summary, a list of questions for review, and references for further reading.

WPSO begins by making the sociological link between war and peace with emphasis on how war and peace are created. Chapter 2 provides depth on the social definition of war contrasting it with violence. Further, peace is defined not as the absence of war, but more as intersubjective -- a social process that occurs at multiple levels of society. The next chapter explains war from numerous social and political approaches. This chapter anchors war in Functional, Marxian, Feminist, International Relations, and Internal-Control theories as well as more inductive and "human-nature" approaches. Chapter 4 discusses militarism at the intersection of social institutions including education, popular culture, mass media, sports, and economics. The relationship between the family and the military is not addressed despite the knowledge of military families providing a disproportionate number of young people for careers in military service. (Morris Janowitz [1960/71] The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait . Free Press.)

Chapter 5, "The Military Industrial Complex," is the longest and most dense chapter. Here Fogarty's six years working as an army civilian aircraft buyer and cost analyst shine through. He deftly navigates the reader through the complex maze of defense spending and acquisition. He provides simple figures and charts, focuses on the process as wasteful, exploits five complementary explanations to elucidate defense waste spending, and guides the reader home by connecting the analysis to both functional and conflict theory.

The next three chapters focus more on the peace process and include a chapter on avoiding war, promoting peace, and empowering people to make peace. Of special note in the first of these is the discussion of nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions , for example Peace Brigades International. The chapter on promoting peace is unique for couching Ghandi's nonviolent action in sociological terms and noting that a number of social movements have since used this technique successfully, including Martin Luther King Jr. Fogarty could have promoted the little-known fact that a very young King earned a B.A. in Sociology at Morehouse College in 1948. The final chapter inspires the reader with ways of becoming active through both education and experiences.

The strengths of WPSO for students are many. Foremost, he substantively links the study of war and peace. Second, the book is well organized, with tight chapters, numerous headings and subheadings, and a summary concluding each chapter. In addition, but beginning with chapter 3, key terms ( N = 37) are italicized in each of the summary sections.

Some chapters are denser than others. Fogarty also is less attentive to referencing chapters related to war than in chapters related to peace. For example, other than noting a film and novel, there are no references in the section on the social psychology of combat despite a rich research tradition dating back to and including WWII on the social psychology of war. Finally, the focus may be too American in orientation for some sociologists.

WPSO is oriented toward upper-level undergraduate students and newcomers to the peace and war literature. It is an excellent supplemental or primary reader for Peace Studies. It could make a refreshing contribution to Military Sociology courses that have traditionally focused on peacekeeping/peace enforcing from a military institution perspective (including my own). The book could be stretched to use in Organization Studies courses and...

[Dec 31, 2018] The psychological importance of wasting time by Olivia Goldhill

Highly recommended!
Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering
Apr 30, 2017 | qz.com

There will always be an endless list of chores to complete and work to do, and a culture of relentless productivity tells us to get to it right away and feel terribly guilty about any time wasted. But the truth is, a life spent dutifully responding to emails is a dull one indeed. And "wasted" time is, in fact, highly fulfilling and necessary.

Don't believe me? Take it from the creator of "Inbox Zero." As Oliver Burkeman reports in The Guardian , Merlin Mann was commissioned to write a book about his streamlined email system. Two years later, he abandoned the project and instead posted a (since deleted) blog post on how he'd spent so long focusing on how to spend time well, he'd ended up missing valuable moments with his daughter.

The problem comes when we spend so long frantically chasing productivity, we refuse to take real breaks. We put off sleeping in, or going for a long walk, or reading by the window -- and, even if we do manage time away from the grind, it comes with a looming awareness of the things we should be doing, and so the experience is weighed down by guilt.

Instead, there's a tendency to turn to the least fulfilling tendency of them all: Sitting at our desk, in front of our computer, browsing websites and contributing to neither our happiness nor our productivity.

"There's an idea we must always be available, work all the time," says Michael Guttridge, a psychologist who focuses on workplace behavior. "It's hard to break out of that and go to the park." But the downsides are obvious: We end up zoning out while at the computer -- looking for distraction on social media, telling ourselves we're "multitasking" while really spending far longer than necessary on the most basic tasks.

Plus, says Guttridge, we're missing out on the mental and physical benefits of time spent focused on ourselves. "People eat at the desk and get food on the computer -- it's disgusting. They should go for a walk, to the coffee shop, just get away," he says. "Even Victorian factories had some kind of rest breaks."

[Dec 12, 2018] The new technology is a mixed bag

Dec 12, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net

[Dec 11, 2018] John Taylor Gatto s book, The Underground History of American Education, lays out the sad fact of western education ; which has nothing to do with education; but rather, an indoctrination for inclusion in society as a passive participant. Docility is paramount in members of U.S. society so as to maintain the status quo

Highly recommended!
Creation of docility is what neoliberal education is about. Too specialized slots, as if people can't learn something new. Look at requirements for the jobs at monster or elsewhere: they are so specific that only people with previous exactly same job expertise can apply. Especially oputragious are requernets posted by requetng firm. There is something really Orvallian in them. That puts people into medieval "slots" from which it is difficult to escape.
I saw recently the following requirements for a sysadmin job: "Working knowledge of: Perl, JavaScript, PowerShell, BASH Script, XML, NodeJS, Python, Git, Cloud Technologies: ( AWS, Azure, GCP), Microsoft Active Directory, LDAP, SQL Server, Structured Query Language (SQL), HTML, Windows OS, RedHat(Linux), SaltStack, Some experience in Application Quality Testing."
When I see such job posting i think that this is just a covert for H1B hire: there is no such person on the planet who has "working knowledge" of all those (mostly pretty complex) technologies. It is clearly designed to block potential candidates from applying.
Neoliberalism looks like a cancer for the society... Unable to provide meaningful employment for people. Or at least look surprisingly close to one. Malignant growth.
Dec 11, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net

[Dec 11, 2018] Software "upgrades" require workers to constantly relearn the same task because some young "genius" observed that a carefully thought out interface "looked tired" and glitzed it up.

Dec 11, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net

S Brennan permalink April 24, 2016

My grandfather, in the early 60's could board a 707 in New York and arrive in LA in far less time than I can today. And no, I am not counting 4 hour layovers with the long waits to be "screened", the jets were 50-70 knots faster, back then your time was worth more, today less.

Not counting longer hours AT WORK, we spend far more time commuting making for much longer work days, back then your time was worth more, today less!

Software "upgrades" require workers to constantly relearn the same task because some young "genius" observed that a carefully thought out interface "looked tired" and glitzed it up. Think about the almost perfect Google Maps driver interface being redesigned by people who take private buses to work. Way back in the '90's your time was worth more than today!

Life is all the "time" YOU will ever have and if we let the elite do so, they will suck every bit of it out of you.

[Dec 11, 2018] Before answering machines, ah, now there was fucking Nirvana. We had no idea how good we had it.

Dec 11, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net
  1. Ian Welsh permalink April 24, 2016

    Reading more books. Oh dear.

    I don't think my being able to write for the internet makes up for people being de-facto enslaved at their jobs, or for a panopticon.

    But, maybe that's just me. I should be more selfish. It's been good for me, who cares how many other people it's fucking over or if it will enable a totalitarian police state which makes 1984 look tame.

    Y'know, I'm old enough to remember before cell phones, the internet and even PCs, let alone mobile and smart phones. Heck I remember before answering machines.

    Before answering machines, ah, now there was fucking Nirvana. We had no idea how good we had it.

markfromireland permalink April 24, 2016

@ Ian

Before answering machines, ah, now there was fucking Nirvana. We had no idea how good we had it.

Sitting here nodding vigorously with tears in my eyes.

[Dec 11, 2018] Screens are like a leash, and the leash is just getting shorter and shorter

Dec 11, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net

realitychecker permalink , April 27, 2016

A lot of good points made here, but let me state the essence real simply: Screens are like a leash, and the leash is just getting shorter and shorter, from TV to cellphones.

Future citizens will feel that their whole universe is a 2″ by 3″ piece of plastic.

How wonderful for the Masters. The Matrix, without the plumbing.

[Nov 29, 2018] Patriarch Bartholomew knows the political situation. He should be working for peace to unite the Orthodox faithful not to divide them

Nov 29, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Konstantinos Palaiologos , 54 minutes ago (edited)

I don't like the timing of Patriarch Bartholomew granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from Russia. After a thousand years he does this, now? Something stinks. He knows the political situation and it was uncalled for to fuel the fire. He should be working for peace to unite the Orthodox faithful, and condemn the western puppet of Ukraine. Bartholomew should be deposed.

[Nov 27, 2018] The UOC-KP and UAOC take a nationalist position by noting (among other things) how their churches use the Ukrainian language in services

Church became a political tool for strengthening the sovereignty of Ukraine. Which is to be expected...
Notable quotes:
"... Anyway, it's clearly a political issue pushed by the Kiev regime, simply because it failed in everything tangible on Earth, so wants at least a fake success in Heaven. Like the regime itself, this push has full support of the Washington politburo. That's the whole story. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail says: Website November 24, 2018 at 7:27 pm GMT 200 Words @AP

At issue is the accuracy of such polling, in conjunction with the pressure that has been put on the UOC-MP.

In any event, there's also the matter of popularity between the UOC-MP versus the UAOC and UGCC. It'd be grossly unfair to seek the complete elimination of the UOC-MP, based on the popularity between these three churches. Never mind the issue of the UAOC and UOC-KP coordinating things between themselves on a single UOC among them – let alone the UOC-MP factor.

As for those inaccurately stereotyping the UOC-MP background as the appendage of a foreign power, one can say much the same of the UGCC, which supports a single UOC, even though the UGCC isn't an OC. I'm sure the UGCC would be towing a different line if it was targeted (thru pressure) to become a part of the UOC.

The above linked article exaggerates the ROCOR ties with Nazi Germany. Some in that church were more soft on the latter than others. As time went by, that popularity became even less. Not so different from how Nazi Germany was initially perceived by some others in the West before all hell really broke loose. Some whataboutism notes the Vatican-Nazi ties, as well as the Soviet cooperation with Nazi Germany.

AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 7:29 pm GMT

Mr. Shamir suggests a smarter course of action than the Moscow Church adopted. That's natural: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) is certainly not the brightest bulb in a chandelier. I am sure Mr. Shamir (with a typical Orthodox Christian name: Israel) is more intelligent. But he is not leading Russian Orthodox Church. Maybe he should.

Reminds one of a Russian joke.
A Jew comes to rabbi seeking advice. Rabbi says:
- Look, Moses said that everyone should follow the ten commandments, Jesus said "if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also", Spinoza said "cogito ergo sum", Einstein said that it's all relative, while Freud said that all problems spring from your sexual inhibitions
- Why are you telling me all that?
- Because there are as many opinions as there are Jews. Use your own brains!

AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger The country is "devoid" of ideology. Even that is not quite true: the powers push imperial greatness as an ideology, having learned from neighbors' example that primeval tribal nationalism can ruin any country.
AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 7:35 pm GMT
@Giuseppe Did you ever see Patriarchs (or Popes, for that matter) who actually wanted something not for themselves? That includes Kingdoms.
Mikhail , says: Website November 24, 2018 at 7:51 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN One Svido leaning academic mentioned the language issue regarding the OC situation in Ukraine.

The UOC-KP and UAOC take a nationalist position by noting (among other things) how their churches use the Ukrainian language in services. The UOC-MP takes the traditional route by using Church Slavonic, as is true of the Serb and Bulgarian churches, as well as all churches loosely affiliated with the MP. Been informed that the Romanian Orthodox Church (at least some of them) also use Church Slavonic.

Sergey Krieger , says: November 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Whatever they are pushing it won't take Russia far. People are not idiots. They know they were robbed and are being fleeced now.
Mikhail , says: Website November 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger In cyber, there's the claim that IS was baptized as an Orthodox Christian. Not sure how accurate that is. I've also heard that Zyuganov considers himself as an OC – again not sure of whether that's accurate. The KPRF has been known to take pro-ROC positions – at least some.

The present ROC-MP is generally not so enthusiastic about the Soviet legacy. That said I understand there's for (lack of a better term) element of ROCs who take a more Sovok leaning line.

AP , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:00 pm GMT
@Mikhail

At issue is the accuracy of such polling, in conjunction with the pressure that has been put on the UOC-MP

According to you all polls are inaccurate. Very funny.

I'm sure the UGCC would be towing a different line if it was targeted (thru pressure) to become a part of the UOC.

UGCC is irrelevant here – I was posting data about the various Orthodox Churches and their support among Ukraine's self-identified Orthodox people.

Increasingly, the UOC – Moscow is becoming the church of Crimeans, ethnic Russians, and the small Russian nationalist fringe. The smaller it gets as Ukrainians continue to leave, the more pro-Russia it will be. It has the right to exist as such, of course, but let's not pretend it is something different from that.

AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Mikhail The language issue is just a pretext. Church Slavonic is no closer to modern Russian than to modern Ukrainian (BTW, what do they mean by Ukrainian – the literary Poltava version, or one of Western Ukrainian dialects, which are quite different from literary Ukrainian and from each other).

Anyway, it's clearly a political issue pushed by the Kiev regime, simply because it failed in everything tangible on Earth, so wants at least a fake success in Heaven. Like the regime itself, this push has full support of the Washington politburo. That's the whole story.

AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:15 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger If memory serves, the last uprising against the robbery was in 1993, 25 years ago. The regime skillfully used Ukrainian idiocy and American machinations to its advantage. The regime also skillfully uses the fact that self-proclaimed "opposition" falls into two categories: subservient lesser thieves, like the so-called communist party, and pathetic nonentities, like Navalny and similar scum. But we'll see what happens next.
israel shamir , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:23 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger Sergey, I am a communist sympathiser and a Christian, so for me – and for millions – it is relevant. Indeed, once communists were atheist, but not anymore. And I think it is a gross simplification to say that questions of faith are about money and power. They are about money and power, too, but this is not their most important feature. Probably you have learned in school the poem 12 by Alexander Block with his vision of Christ leading the Red squad. So these ideas fit together perfectly.
israel shamir , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Mikhail

I am not sure it is so. I went to a service at St Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev, the most beautiful church of the city in the hands of "Kiev Patriarchate", and the service was in Old Slavonic, as in Russia proper, while the sermon was in Russian. Probably one could confess in Ukrainian

israel shamir , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:30 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Israel is a perfectly good Christian name; however I was baptised as "Adam", and I do often sign as Israel Adam Shamir.
AP , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Mikhail

I've also heard that Zyuganov considers himself as an OC – again not sure of whether that's accurate.

I know Zyuganov's family personally (not well, we sat at a table, talked and drank together at a mutual friend's birthday party in Moscow).

His daughter is a very devout and sincere Orthodox Christian.

AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:52 pm GMT
@israel shamir The name is not an issue, although I can't recall a single Orthodox (or atheist, for that matter) ethnic Russian with a name "Israel". The issue is that recent converts often show more zeal than those who belonged to a particular religion (or religion-like ideology, such as communism or globalism) from early years of their lives. I do think that your suggestions are much smarter than what the Synod decided to do, but they are even more worldly and less Christian than actions of the Russian Church. It is equally clear that actions of Bart and Poroshenko have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics. Both are desperate failures trying to redeem themselves in some way. Then again, I do not belong to any church, was never baptized or otherwise introduced into any religion, so my opinion is totally non-religious.
AnonFromTN , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm GMT
@israel shamir Now, here I must agree. The teachings of Christ were communist, as anyone reading the New Testament can see. The episode with money changers fully describes how true Christians should view bankers.
Mr. Hack , says: November 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@israel shamir I've attended mass at St. Vladimir's too, and not heard a single word uttered in Russian nor Church Slavonic, and this was a few years back. I'm sure that if anything, it's even more Ukrainian now than it was then. If Church Slavonic was used during the mass, it must have been very curtailed. Their official website is all in Ukrainian – no Russian. http://www.katedral.org.ua/rozklad.html
Mr. Hack , says: November 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm GMT
@israel shamir

I am a communist sympathiser and a Christian,

So, for the sake of clarity, are we to believe that you're a 'sympathizer' of the type of communism that was practiced in the Soviet Union for about 65 years? Save me the routine about 'nothing is ever perfect', a simple yes or no will suffice.

Agent76 , says: November 24, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
6 October 2018 Russian Orthodox Church severs links with Constantinople

The break came after the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople recognised the independence of the Ukrainian Church from Moscow.

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/2018/10/15/russian-orthodox-church-breaks-ties-with-orthodoxys-leader/

Sergey Krieger , says: November 24, 2018 at 11:25 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Agree.
Sergey Krieger , says: November 24, 2018 at 11:35 pm GMT
@israel shamir I agree regarding Crist. But Kirill ain't Crist and he ain't communist either. Which leave us with dilemma. How one can be both communist and religious man devoted to organized official religion. It is obvious that religion is being pushed to make population lethargic and make it forget that they are basically suckers who allowed few sly scoundrels to rob them and keep robbing. If God exists He has nothing to do with any church.
Mr. Hack , says: November 24, 2018 at 11:56 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Russia had all the same problems of course [as Ukraine], but it also retained its vast reserves of oil and gas

So both countries had the same crummy type of system (and still do), however, Russia was the lucky recipient of large energy resources, that has enabled it to fashion a higher GDP. Unless you can prove that somehow Russia is willing to share this largess with Ukraine, why should Ukraine crawl back on its knees and become a part of the 'Russian Mir'? Ukraine needs to look elsewhere and learn to rely on itself to find its way in the world – there's nothing to be gained by aligning itself in the near future with Russia.

Cyrano , says: November 25, 2018 at 12:06 am GMT
I think it's all a terrible misunderstanding. The reason why the Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from the Russian is because they heard that the Russian Orthodox Church is in charge of canonization. Those dummies are mixing military with religious terms. Russian Orthodox Church wasn't planning on bombarding the Ukrainians, although to be honest, the way the Ukrainians are acting, it wouldn't be uncalled for if someone used some cannons on them.
wayfarer , says: November 25, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress.

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it.

Avoid such people.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2_Timothy_3

Elon Musk: Something Unbelievable is Happening Worldwide

AnonFromTN , says: November 25, 2018 at 1:56 am GMT
@Cyrano

the way the Ukrainians are acting, it wouldn't be uncalled for if someone used some cannons on them

You are forgetting the difference between primeval nationalistic savages and civilized people. Although Ukraine bombs, shells, and shoots civilians in Donbass, this does not mean that Russia must stoop as low as that scum. Unlike Ukraine, Russia has time on its side. So, whoever is ruling Russia only needs to stock up on popcorn and wait for the morons to ruin whatever remains and kill each other, or for the healthy forces in Ukraine to hang those morons on the lampposts. If there are no healthy forces, than the ruler of Russia only needs to wait a bit longer, until the morons create another Chernobyl on a nuclear power plant or similar catastrophe on one of the remaining chemical plants. After that impotent European cowards would crawl to the Russian ruler begging him/her to take hand grenades away from monkeys. The EU would even pay for the operation and agree to forgive the debts: otherwise Russia won't lift a finger.

Denis , says: November 25, 2018 at 2:34 am GMT
@Sergey Krieger There are today possibly millions of believers in Russia alone who also vote for communist parties. Although some leftists are hostile to certain religions, others aren't.

Karl Marx for example, was not hostile to Christians or Christianity at all, and was actually rather fond of both the religion and its followers, even though he was not religious himself. In your previous comment, you brought up Marx' "Opium of the Masses" turn of phrase; if you'd look up his full statement where that phrase appears, you'll see that he was not condemning the religion, but observing the social role that it plays as a crutch to lean on for the oppressed common man.

Quartermaster , says: November 25, 2018 at 3:06 am GMT
The grant of 1686 which "gave" Kyiv to Moscow carried certain conditions. Those condition were never fulfilled. Consequently, the Ecumenical Patriarch has withdrawn the grant form Moscow. The withdrawal is quite legal, no matter the author's whining to the contrary.

Ukraine is going to get Auotcephaly, and the ROC-KP will either join, or be left behind. Moscow can whine about the loss, but the ROC is simply a cultural accouterment in Russia. Putin, and people supposedly in the know, think Putin is a RO Christian. His actions in Ukraine have shown, quite clearly, that he is anything but.

Mr. Shamir demonstrates the same ignorance of Ukraine Saker does. Other ins the comments are even worse. Ukraine is rising and improving. Putinist Russia, on the other hand, is declining, and the idiot is spending money on his imperial ambitions and is looting the country to enrich himself, his cronies, and pursue his ambitions. Russia is now a pathetic shadow of itself and is more corrupt than Ukraine. The country is slowly turning on Putin and he will either go on his own more he will turn to the sort of repression that is seen in Crimea, which he has tuned into a prison camp. There is a very serious question as to what form Russia will have in 10 years. It is not likely that it will look like ti does now.

Mikhail , says: Website November 25, 2018 at 3:22 am GMT
@AP AP Corrected Again

According to you all polls are inaccurate. Very funny.

Not at all. Some of them are for sure. That poll could very well be off.

UGCC is irrelvant here – I was posting data about the various Orthodox Churches and their support among Ukraine's self-identified Orthodox people.

What you consider as irrelevant (not your misspelled irrelvant ) isn't so. UGCC wants one UOC independent of the MP, while not being an OC. It's pertinent to note that they aren't larger than the UOC-MP. Ditto the UAOC. It's alos appropriate to answer those who inaccurately portray the UOC-MP as some sort of foreign creation, given the history of the UGCC.

Increasingly, the UOC – Moscow is becoming the church of Crimeans, ethnic Russians, and the small Russian nationalist fringe. The smaller it gets as Ukrainians continue to leave, the more pro-Russia it will be. It has the right to exist as such, of course, but let's not pretend it is something different from that.

The UOC-KP is a 1992 created politicized entity with one of its churches having a mural of the Azov Nazi symbol used during WW II and another depicting Filaret as some kind of great figure – quite arrogant/cultist, given that he's still alive.

Exhibited manner like that can understandably turn off a noticeable number of Ukrainians who while identifying themselves as Ukrainian, don't buy into the anti-Russian Svido BS.

As IS notes, the UOC-MP is very much autonomous from the ROC-MP.

Mikhail , says: Website November 25, 2018 at 3:24 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I'm referring to the modern day standardized Ukrainian which the Soviets encouraged, along with diaspora Ukrainians.
obwandiyag , says: November 25, 2018 at 3:34 am GMT
@Denis Thank you. An intelligent comment for once.
Mikhail , says: Website November 25, 2018 at 3:38 am GMT
@Quartermaster You're even more ignorant, as evidenced by the manner of your hit and run trolling at these threads. The OC in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus all go back to when Rus adopted Christianity. Thereafter, these lands became separate, with Ukraine (at least much of it) falling under the subjugation of the Poles.

Following the Mongol subjugation period, the northern area of Rus (modern day Russia) became the strongest and most independent of Rus territory. This transformation of influence/power was becoming evident before the mongol occupation.

"Constantinople" doesn't have Vatican like powers, thereby explaining why its recent move concerning the UOC is very much unpopular ,among the majority of the national OC churches.

Since reunifying with Russia: Crimea has become virtually bloodless – especially when compared to Kiev regime controlled Ukraine and the rebel held Donbass areas.

Someone thinking along your lines, posted this, while not being offering any rebuttal to it:

http://www.academia.edu/37358188/Michael_Averko_Consistency_and_Reality_Lacking_on_Crimea

Mikhail , says: Website November 25, 2018 at 3:45 am GMT
@israel shamir Very interesting and in contradiction to what a certain North American pro-UOC-KP academic was suggesting.

As you and some others here know, Russian language use in Kiev regime controlled Ukraine remains quite evident – even among those taking a not so Russia unfriendly line.

I suspect that UOC-KP churches in places like Galicia and Volhynia, as well as the UAOC have their services in Ukrainian.

The UOC-MP's website is trilingual:

http://church.ua/

Some interesting p;pieces at that site.

AnonFromTN , says: November 25, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT
@Mikhail That's not what the most "svidomie" speak. They are from Galicia, they don't speak Poltava Ukrainian. Standard Ukrainian is melodious and quite beautiful, almost never a consonant without a vowel following it. Western Polonized and Germanized dialects are anything but beautiful. I know the difference well enough: I speak literary Ukrainian and the dialect spoken around Lvov. They are almost as different as Russian and Serbian.
Excal , says: November 25, 2018 at 4:38 am GMT
@AnonFromTN Insofar as Communism denies that the private ownership of property is a proper feature of political order, it is incompatible with Christianity. Also, insofar as Communism substitutes itself for the political authority of Christ (as properly understood), it is incompatible with Christianity.

Christ's attitude toward money and those who deal in it is not illustrated in the story of the scouring of the Temple. Rather, it is illustrated by the story of the widow's mite, and the payment of the temple tax (which He obtained from the mouth of a fish), and His statement about rendering unto Caesar, and His well-known dictum about the love of money, and other passages as well.

Those who insist that the Lord despises banking are forced into entertaining acrobatics by the parable of the talents.

I personally am open to the idea that certain aspects of Communism could be redeemed and Christianised, as aspects of ancient paganism were. Christianity has a remarkable knack for keeping the baby and discarding the bath-water. But the sometimes fashionable trope that Christ Himself was a Communist, or that the early Christians were Communist, is not supported by the evidence.

[Nov 26, 2018] Phanar Phantom by Israel Shamir

Nov 24, 2018 | unz.com

The Russian world is caught up in a drama. Its leading Orthodox Church faces a schism over the Ukraine's drive for its own independent church. If Kiev regime succeeds, the split between Russia proper and its breakaway Western part, the Ukraine, will widen. The Russian Church will suffer a great loss, comparable to the emergence of the Anglican church for the Catholics. However, there is a chance for the Russians to gain a lot from the split, to gain more than to lose.

The Ukraine actually has its own church, and this church is the self-ruling autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its autonomy is very broad; it can be considered independent practically in every aspect excepting its nominal recognition of Moscow supremacy. The Ukrainian Church does not pay tribute to Moscow, it elects its own bishops; it has no reason to push for more. No tangible reason, at least.

But in the Ukraine, there was and is a strong separatist tendency, with a somewhat romantic and nationalist tinge, comparable to Scots or Languedoc separatism. Its beginning could be traced to 18th Century, when a Moscow-appointed ruler Hetman Mazeppa rose against Russia's Peter the Great and allied himself with the Swedish warrior-king Charles XII. A hundred years after the revolt, the foremost Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, composed a beautiful romantic poem Poltava (following Byron's Mazeppa ) where he gives Mazeppa the following words:

For far too long we've bowed our heads,
Without respect or liberty,
Beneath the yoke of Warsaw's patronage,
Beneath the yoke of Moscow's despotism.
But now is Ukraine's chance to grow
Into an independent power. (trans. by Ivan Eubanks)

This romantic dream of an independent Ukraine became real after the 1917 Revolution, under the German occupation at the conclusion of World War One. Within a year or two, as the defeated Germans withdrew, the independent Ukraine became Soviet and joined Soviet Russia in the Soviet Union of equal Republics. Even within the Union, the Ukraine was independent and it had its own UN seat. When Russian President Yeltsin dissolved the Union, Ukraine became fully independent again.

In the 1991 divorce with rump Russia (after hundreds of years of integration), the Ukraine took with her a major portion of the former Union's physical and human assets. The spacious country with its hard-working people, fertile black soil, the cream of Soviet industry producing aircraft, missiles, trains and tractors, with the best and largest army within the Warsaw Treaty, with its universities, good roads, proximity to Europe, expensive infrastructure connecting East and West, the Ukraine had a much better chances for success than rump Russia.

But it didn't turn out this way, for reasons we shall discuss elsewhere. A failed state if there ever was one, the Ukraine was quickly deserted by its most-valuable people, who ran away in droves to Russia or Poland; its industries were dismantled and sold for the price of scrap metal. The only compensation the state provides is even more nationalism, even more declarations of its independence.

This quest for full independence has been even less successful than economic or military measures. The Kiev regime could dispense with Moscow, but it became subservient to the West. Its finances are overseen by the IMF, its army by NATO, its foreign policy by the US State Department. Real independence was an elusive goal, beyond the Ukraine's reach.

A total break of the Ukrainian church with the nominal supremacy of Moscow appealed to President Petro Poroshenko as a convincing substitute for real independence, especially with a view toward the forthcoming elections. He turned to the patriarch of Constantinople, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew asking him to grant his church its full independence (called autocephaly in ecclesiastical language).

Fine, but what is 'his church'? The vast majority of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians and their bishops are content with their status within the Russian Church. They have their own head, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphrius, who is also content with his position. They do not see any need for autocephaly. However, the Ukraine has two small splinter orthodox churches, one led by the ambitious bishop Filaret and another by Macarius; both are very nationalist and anti-Russian, both support the regime and claim for autonomy, both are considered illegitimate by the rest of the Orthodox world. These two small churches are potential embryos of a future Ukrainian Church of President Poroshenko.

Now we shall turn to Bartholomew. His title describes him as the patriarch of Constantinople, but in vain you will seek this city on a map. Constantinople, the Christian capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the greatest city of his time, the seat of Roman emperors, was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 and became Islamic Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire and of the last Muslim Caliphate; since 1920 it has been a city in the Republic of Turkey. The Constantinople Patriarchate is a phantom fossil of a great past; it has a few churches, a monastery and a few ambitious monks located in Phanar, an old Greek quarter of Istanbul.

The Turkish government considers Bartholomew a bishop of the local Greeks, denying his 6 th -century title of Ecumenical Patriarch. There are only three thousand Greeks in the city, so Bartholomew has very small foothold there indeed. His patriarchate is a phantom in the world of phantoms, such as the Knights of Maltese and Temple Orders, Kings of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, emperors of Brazil and of the Holy Roman Empire Phantom is not a swear word. Phantoms are loved by romantics enamoured by old rituals and uniforms with golden aiguillettes. These honourable gentlemen represent nobody, they have no authority, but they can and do issue impressive-looking certificates.

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The Orthodox Church differs from its Roman Catholic sister by having no central figure like the Pope of Rome. The Orthodox have a few equal-ranking heads of national churches, called Patriarchs or Popes. The Patriarch of Constantinople is one of these fourteen church leaders, though he has more than his share of respect by virtue of tradition. Now the Phantom of Phanar seeks to make his position much more powerful, akin to that of the Pope of Rome for the Western Church. His organization claims that "The Ecumenical Patriarchate has the responsibility of being the Church of final appeal in Orthodoxy, and it is the only Church that may establish autocephalous and autonomous Churches". These claims are rejected by the Russian Church, by far the biggest Orthodox Church in the world.

As the Ukrainian church is a part of the Russian Church, it could seek its full independence (autocephaly) in Moscow, but it has no such wish. The two small splinter churches turned to Phanar, and the Phanar leader was more than happy to get into the game. He had sent two of his bishops to Kiev and started with establishing a united Ukrainian church. This church wouldn't be independent, or autocephalous; it would be a church under the direct rule of Phanar, an autonomous or the stavropegial church. For Ukrainian nationalists, it would be a sad reminder that they have the choice to go with Moscow or with Istanbul, now as their ancestors had four hundred years ago. Full independence is not on the cards.

For the Phanar, it was not a first foray into Russian territory: Bartholomew also used the anti-Russian sentiments of Tallinn and took a part of the Estonian churches and their faithful under his rule. However, then the Russians took it easy, for two reasons. Estonia is small, there are not too many churches nor congregants; and besides, the Phanar had taken some positions in Estonia between the wars, when Soviet Russia did not care much about the Church. The Ukraine is absolutely different. It is very big, it is the heart of Russian church, and Constantinople has no valid claim on it.

The Russians say that President Poroshenko bribed Bartholomew. This is nonsense of very low grade; even if the Patriarch is not averse to accepting gifts. Bartholomew had a very valid reason to accept Poroshenko's offer. If he would realize his plan and establish a church of Ukraine under his own rule, call it autonomous or stavropegial or even autocephalous, he would cease being a phantom and would become a very real church leader with millions of faithful. The Ukraine is second only to Russia in the Orthodox world, and its coming under Constantinople would allow Bartholomew to become the most-powerful Orthodox leader.

The Russians are to blame themselves for much of their difficulties. They were too eager to accept the Phanar Phantom for the real thing in their insistent drive for external approval and recognition. They could have forgotten about him three hundred years ago instead of seeking his confirmation now and then. It is dangerous to submit to the weak; perhaps it is more risky than to submit to the strong.

This reminds me of a rather forgotten novel by H. G. Wells The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth . It is a story of a wondrous nourishment that allows children to grow into forty-foot-high giants. Society mistreats the young titans. In a particularly powerful episode, a mean old hag scolds the tall kids – thrice her size, and they timidly accept her silly orders. In the end, the giants succeed in standing their ground, throw off the yoke and walk tall. Wells writes about "young giants, huge and beautiful, glittering in their mail, amidst the preparations for the morrow. The sight of them lifted his heart. They were so easily powerful! They were so tall and gracious! They were so steadfast in their movements!"

Russia is a young giant that tries to observe the pygmy-established rules. International organisation called PACE (The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) where Russia is harshly mistreated and is not even allowed to defend itself, is a good example. International courts where Russia has little chance to stand its ground is another one. President Trump has taken the US out of a few international organisations, though the US has huge weight in international affairs and all states pay heed to the US position. Russia's voice is not even heard, and only now the Russians begin to ponder the advantages of Ruxit.

The church rules are equally biased as they place the biggest Orthodox state with millions of faithful Christians on the same footing as Oriental phantoms.

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, the Patriarch of Constantinople had real weight. The Sultan defended his position, his decisions had legal implications for the Orthodox subjects of the Empire. He caused many troubles for the Russian Church, but the Russians had to observe his decrees as he was an imperial official. After Ataturk's revolution, the Patriarch lost his status, but the Russian church, this young giant, continued to revere him and support him. After 1991, when Russia had turned to its once-neglected church, the Russian Church multiplied its generosity towards Phanar and turned to him for guidance, for the Moscow Church had been confused and unprepared for its new position. Being in doubt, it turned to tradition. We can compare this to the English "rotten boroughs" of Dickens novels, towns that had traditionally sent their representatives to the Parliament though they scarcely had any dwellers.

In this search for tradition, the Russian church united with the Russian Church abroad, the émigré structure with its checkered history that included support for Hitler. Its main contribution was fierce anti-Communism and rejection of the Soviet period of the Russian past. However it could be justified by the Russians' desire to heal the White vs. Red split and restore the émigrés to the Russian people. While honouring the Phanar Phantom as the honorary head of the Orthodox world had no justification at all.

The Phanar had US State Department backing to consider. US diplomacy has had a good hand in dealings with phantoms: for many years Washington supported phantom governments-in-exile of the Baltic states, and this support was paid back a hundredfold in 1991. Now, the US support for Phanar has paid back well in this renewed attack on Russia.

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The Patriarch of Phanar, perhaps, underestimated possible Russian response to his Ukrainian meddling. He got used to Russian good treatment; he remembered that the Russians meekly accepted his takeover of the Estonian church. Being encouraged by the US and driven by his own ambitions, he made the radical step of voiding Constantinople's agreement of transfer of Kiev Metropolitan seat to Moscow, had sent his bishops and took over the Ukraine to himself.

The Moscow Church anathemised Bartholomew, and forbade its priests to participate in service with Phanar priests and (!!!) with priests that accept Phanar priests. While ending communion with Phanar is no pain at all, the secondary step – of ending communion with the churches that refuse to excommunicate Phanar – is a very radical one. Other Orthodox churches are unhappy about Phanar moves. They are aware that Phanar's new rules may threaten them, too. They are not keen to establish a Pope above themselves. But I doubt they are ready to excommunicate Phanar.

The Russian church can take a less radical and more profitable way. The Orthodox world's unity is based on two separate principles. One, the Eucharist. All Orthodox churches are united in the communion. Their priests can serve together and accept communion in any recognised church. Two, the principle of canonical territory . No church should appoint bishops on the other church's territory.

Phanar transgressed against the territorial principle. In response, the Russian Church excommunicated him. But Phanar refused to excommunicate the Russians. As the result, the Russians are forbidden by their own church to accept communion if excommunicated priests participate in the service. But the priests of the Church of Jerusalem do not ban anybody, neither Russians, no Phanariots.

As it happened with Russian counter-sanctions, they cause harm and pain mainly to Russians themselves. There are few Orthodox pilgrims visiting Russia, while there are many Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, Mount Athos and other important sites of Greece, Turkey and Palestine, first of all Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Now these pilgrims won't be able to receive the holy communion in the Holy Sepulchre and in the Nativity Cathedral, while Russian priests won't be able to celebrate mass in these churches.

The Russian priests will probably suffer and submit, while the lay pilgrims will probably break the prohibition and accept the Eucharist in the Church of Jerusalem.

It would be better if the Russian church were to deal with Phanar's treachery on the reciprocity basis. Phanar does not excommunicate Russians, and Russians may go back to full communion with Phanar. Phanar broke the territorial principle, and the Russians may disregard territorial principle. Since the 20th century, canonical territory has increasingly become a violated principle of canon law, says OrthodoxWiki . Facing such major transgression, the Russians may completely drop the territorial principle and send their bishops to Constantinople and Jerusalem, to Rome and Washington, while keeping all Orthodox churches in full communion.

The Russian church will be able to spread the Orthodox faith all over the world, among the French in France, among the Italians in Italy, among Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The Russian church dos not allow women into priesthood, does not allow gay unions, does not consider the Jews its elder brothers, does not tolerate homosexual priests and allows its priests to marry. Perhaps it has a good chance to compete with other churches for the flock and clergy.

Thus Moscow Church will be free of tenets it voluntarily accepted. Regarding communion, the Russian church can retain communion with Phanar and Jerusalem and with other Orthodox churches, even with splinter churches on reciprocity basis. Moreover, the Russian Church may allow communion with Catholics. At present, Catholics allow Russians to receive communion, but the Russian Church do not allow their flock to accept Catholic communion and does not allow Catholics to receive communion in Russian churches. With all the differences between the churches, we the Christians can share communion, flesh and blood of our Saviour, and this all we need.

All this is extremely relevant for the Holy Land. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos does not want to quarrel with Constantinople nor with Moscow. He won't excommunicate the priests of Phanar despite Moscow's requests, and I think he is right. Ban on communion in the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem or in the Nativity of Bethlehem would become a heavy unnecessary and self-inflicted punishment for Russian pilgrims. That is why it makes sense to retain joint communion, while voiding the territorial principle.

Russian church may nominate its bishops in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth to attract the flock presently neglected by the traditional Patriarchate of Jerusalem. I mean the Palestinian Christians and Israeli Christians, hundreds of thousands of them.

The Church of Jerusalem is, and had been ruled by ethnic Greeks since the city was conquered by the Ottomans in 16th century. The Turks removed local Arab Orthodox clerics and appointed their loyal Greeks. Centuries passed by, the Turks are gone, the Greeks are loyal only to themselves, and they do not care much about the natives. They do not allow Christian Palestinian monks to join monasteries, they bar them from holding bishop cathedra and do not let them into the council of the church (called Synod). This flagrant discrimination annoys Palestinian Christians; many of them turned to the Catholic, or even Protestant churches. The flock is angry and ready to rise in revolt against the Greeks, like the Syrian Orthodox did in 1898, when they expelled the Greek bishops and elected an Arab Patriarch of Antioch – with Russian support. (Until that time the Patriarch of Antioch had been elected in Istanbul by Phanar monks exclusively from the "Greeks by race", as they said in those days, and as is the custom of the See of Jerusalem now).

Last Christmas, the Patriarch of Jerusalem had been blocked from entering the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem by angry local Christians, and only Israeli army allowed him to get in. If the Russian Church will establish its bishops in the Holy Land, or even appoint her own Patriarch of Rum (traditional name of the Church) many churches of the Holy Land will accept him, and many faithful will find the church that they can relate to. For the Greek leadership of the Jerusalem church is interested in pilgrimage churches only; they care for pilgrims from Greece and for Greeks in the Holy Land.

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There are many Russian Orthodox in Israel; the Greeks of the Church do not attend to their needs. Since 1948, not a single new church had been built by the Orthodox in Israel. Big cities with many Christians – Beer Sheba, Afula, touristy Eilat – have no churches at all. For sure, we can partly blame Israeli authorities and their hatred of Christianity. However, the Church of Jerusalem is not trying hard enough to erect new churches.

There is a million of immigrants from Russia in Israel. Some of them were Christians, some want to enter the church, being disappointed by brutal and hostile Judaism. They had some romantic image of the Jewish faith, being brought up in atheist USSR, but the reality was not even similar. Not only them; Israelis of every origin are unhappy with Judaism that exists now in Israel. They are ready for Christ. A new church of the Holy Land established by Russians can bring Israelis, Jews and non-Jews, native Palestinians and immigrants to Christ.

Thus Phanar's rejection of territorialism can be used for the greater glory of the Church. Yes, the Russian church will change its character and assume some of global, ecumenical function. This is big challenge; I do not know whether the Russians are ready for it, whether the Patriarch of Moscow Kyril is daring enough for it.

His Church is rather timid; the bishops do not express their views in public. However, a Moscow priest Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, who was close to the Patriarch until recently, publicly called for full reformatting of the Orthodox Christianity, for getting rid of rotten boroughs and phantoms, for establishing sturdy connection between laity and Patriarchate. Without great push by the incautious Patriarch Bartholomew, these ideas could gestate for years; now they can come forth and change the face of the faith.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review .


geokat62 , says: November 24, 2018 at 2:44 am GMT

Constantinople, the Christian capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the greatest city of his time, the seat of Roman emperors, was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 145 2

According to Wiki:

The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army on 29 May 145 3 .

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople

Macon Richardson , says: November 24, 2018 at 6:23 am GMT
@geokat62 First, using Wikipedia as a reference source is rather déclassé. You are right, however–Wikipedia is right, however–Constantinople did fall in 1493 and Mr. Shamir was wrong. However, as the title of The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c.500-1492 (sic) tells, the empire was gone in 1492. We all make mistakes and a few months' difference in events that happened over 500 years ago seems of little significance. That you needed to bring it to our attention has far more significance to me.
FB , says: November 24, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
Well now we have the second installment of the Great Orthodox Schism Controversy

I must say that Shamir does spin a rather lively story here rather more gripping than Saker's sombre monograph of a few weeks ago

One is tantalized by images of dancing Israelis who are 'ready for Christ' and French and Italians converting en masse to Orthodoxy [what with all the advantages outlined here by Shamir, I must admit it does sound rather attractive, for anyone thinking of 'trading in' so to speak...]

A possible 'takeover' of the Patriarchate of Rum [will they add Coke...?] the possibilities are endless

'A new church of the Holy Land established by Russians can bring Israelis, Jews and non-Jews, native Palestinians and immigrants to Christ.'

Amen to that Brother Shamir Amen

FromSA , says: November 24, 2018 at 8:31 am GMT
I usually like Shamir's writings but this article clearly shows up his shortcomings on this particular subject. He treats the whole affair as if it is a business deal and then tallies up the pluses and the minuses for the Russian Orthodox church. He forgets that the Russian church was massively persecuted and that for them doing the correct thing in God's site is the only thing.
Felix Keverich , says: November 24, 2018 at 10:56 am GMT

The spacious country with its hard-working people, fertile black soil, the cream of Soviet industry producing aircraft, missiles, trains and tractors, with the best and largest army within the Warsaw Treaty, with its universities, good roads, proximity to Europe, expensive infrastructure connecting East and West, the Ukraine had a much better chances for success than rump Russia.

Soviet-era industries couldn't compete in the modern capitalist economy, and were destined to die. Post-communist Ukraine had no capable class of entrepreneurs, its univercities couldn't meet the demands of the market economy, Ukrainian workers lacked marketable skills. It was a recipe for failure. Russia had all the same problems of course, but it also retained its vast reserves of oil and gas

jilles dykstra , says: November 24, 2018 at 11:23 am GMT
" The Russian Church will suffer a great loss, comparable to the emergence of the Anglican church for the Catholics. "
The loss of the catholic church because of the Anglican church indeed was horrible, financially.
Not just catholic priests in England suffered, archbishops on the continent, of British sees, who had never been in England, suffered enormously.
Isidora , says: November 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm GMT
While I respect and generally enjoy Shamir's intellect and writing skills, in this topic he is completely out of his depth. He recommends actions which would totally destroy Christ's Church on earth, deforming it into a mere worldly contestant for the praise of men.

The one true Church is not an episode in political gamesmanship–regardless how heretical bishops may behave from time to time–but Shamir only relates to it in terms of what behaviors would yield the greatest worldly satisfaction in political power. This is the fatal road the Roman church went down (labeled with the year 1054) when their mere bishop decided he needs to be the Pope of the entire world and so broke communion and excommunicated the rest of the Church (which remained Orthodox). The papacy then went on to a successful pursuit of worldly power through the sword that continues to this day. Restore communion with the Roman pope??? Is Shamir crazy??? Each pope puts himself in the place of Christ (antichrist), and true Orthodox will never have Eucharist with that.

Russia's mistake and the mistake of the rest of Orthodoxy is to have gone along with Constantinople (out of brotherly love and respect for Tradition) for the past 100 years of her micro-heresies. The First and Most Egregious action by Constantinople was to exploit the bloody Soviet persecution of the Church in Russia to declare that the rest of the Orthodox world must switch from the Church calendar to the secular, civil calendar devised by the Latins. This was the kickoff of a chain of heretical actions which are continuing throughout the world, to the extent that now so-called churches contemplate legitimizing women priests, sodomy, pedophilia, and turning the Eucharist into a cafeteria.

The USA is 100% actively behind the actions in Ukraine and the Phanar. In fact no one can be enthroned in Constantinople without the sponsorship of the CIA. So this arch-heretic Bartholomew of the Phanar "elevates" an excommunicated prideful heretic, Philaret, to be the "head" a new "orthodox church in Ukraine." This is the empire seeking to destroy the strength of Russia, which is Orthodoxy. The Evil wants to turn Orthodoxy into a beautiful whitewashed tomb: resplendent cathedrals, sumptuous robes, exalted chanting, artful icons, politically correct bishops. But inside it will be full of dead men's bones.

jilles dykstra , says: November 24, 2018 at 11:23 am GMT
" The Russian Church will suffer a great loss, comparable to the emergence of the Anglican church for the Catholics. "
The loss of the catholic church because of the Anglican church indeed was horrible, financially.
Not just catholic priests in England suffered, archbishops on the continent, of British sees, who had never been in England, suffered enormously.
Isidora , says: November 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm GMT
While I respect and generally enjoy Shamir's intellect and writing skills, in this topic he is completely out of his depth. He recommends actions which would totally destroy Christ's Church on earth, deforming it into a mere worldly contestant for the praise of men.

The one true Church is not an episode in political gamesmanship -- regardless how heretical bishops may behave from time to time–but Shamir only relates to it in terms of what behaviors would yield the greatest worldly satisfaction in political power. This is the fatal road the Roman church went down (labeled with the year 1054) when their mere bishop decided he needs to be the Pope of the entire world and so broke communion and excommunicated the rest of the Church (which remained Orthodox).

The papacy then went on to a successful pursuit of worldly power through the sword that continues to this day. Restore communion with the Roman pope??? Is Shamir crazy??? Each pope puts himself in the place of Christ (antichrist), and true Orthodox will never have Eucharist with that.

Russia's mistake and the mistake of the rest of Orthodoxy is to have gone along with Constantinople (out of brotherly love and respect for Tradition) for the past 100 years of her micro-heresies. The First and Most Egregious action by Constantinople was to exploit the bloody Soviet persecution of the Church in Russia to declare that the rest of the Orthodox world must switch from the Church calendar to the secular, civil calendar devised by the Latins. This was the kickoff of a chain of heretical actions which are continuing throughout the world, to the extent that now so-called churches contemplate legitimizing women priests, sodomy, pedophilia, and turning the Eucharist into a cafeteria.

The USA is 100% actively behind the actions in Ukraine and the Phanar. In fact no one can be enthroned in Constantinople without the sponsorship of the CIA. So this arch-heretic Bartholomew of the Phanar "elevates" an excommunicated prideful heretic, Philaret, to be the "head" a new "orthodox church in Ukraine." This is the empire seeking to destroy the strength of Russia, which is Orthodoxy. The Evil wants to turn Orthodoxy into a beautiful whitewashed tomb: resplendent cathedrals, sumptuous robes, exalted chanting, artful icons, politically correct bishops. But inside it will be full of dead men's bones.

Giuseppe , says: November 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm GMT
Very thoughtful article. While the brilliant conclusion that there could be advantages in abandoning the territorial principle in Orthodoxy might offer some hope to the incoherent situation in the American Church, on the other hand letting go of territoriality sacrifices regionalism for globalism. So is this a great opportunity or an execration? That would depend on whether the Patriarchs are intent on building Christ's Kingdom, or their own.

[Nov 26, 2018] Source: US State Dept Paid $25 Mil Bribe to Patriarch of Constantinople to Foment Religious Chaos in Ukraine by James George Jatras

Notable quotes:
"... Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket? ..."
"... The Wheel ..."
"... complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate ..."
"... Reichskommissar ..."
"... a payment of $25 million in US government money ..."
Nov 17, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Bartholomew has a shady past - he is also implicated in embezzling $10 million from a project to rebuild an Orthodox church near ground zero in Manhattan, destroyed on 9/11.

Christianity Politics

Was $25 million in American tax dollars allocated for a payoff to stir up religious turmoil and violence in Ukraine? Did Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (unsuccessfully) attempt to divert most of it into his own pocket?


Last month the worldwide Orthodox Christian communion was plunged into crisis by the decision of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople to recognize as legitimate schismatic pseudo-bishops anathematized by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In so doing not only has Patriarch Bartholomew besmirched the global witness of Orthodoxy's two-millennia old Apostolic faith, he has set the stage for religious strife in Ukraine and fratricidal violence – which has already begun .

Starting in July, when few were paying attention, this analyst warned about the impending dispute and how it facilitated the anti-Christian moral agenda of certain marginal "Orthodox" voices like " Orthodoxy in Dialogue ," Fordham University's " Orthodox Christian Studies Center ," and The Wheel .

Bartholomew is close to the Clintons ...

These "self-professed teachers presume to challenge the moral teachings of the faith" (in the words of Fr. John Parker ) and "prowl around, wolves in sheep's clothing , forming and shaping false ideas about the reality of our life in Christ." Unsurprisingly such groups have embraced Constantinople's neopapal self-aggrandizement and support for the Ukrainian schismatics .

No one – and certainly not this analyst – would accuse Patriarch Bartholomew, most Ukrainian politicians, or even the Ukrainian schismatics of sympathizing with advocacy of such anti-Orthodox values. And yet these advocates know they cannot advance their goals if the conciliar and traditional structure of Orthodoxy remains intact.

... and to Poroshenko ...

Thus they welcome efforts by Constantinople to centralize power while throwing the Church into discord, especially the Russian Church, which is vilified in some Western circles precisely because it is a global beacon of traditional Christian moral witness.

This aspect points to another reason for Western governments to support Ukrainian autocephaly as a spiritual offensive against Russia and Orthodoxy. The post-Maidan leadership harp on the "European choice " the people of Ukraine supposedly made in 2014, but they soft-pedal the accompanying moral baggage the West demands, symbolized by "gay" marches organized over Christian objections in Orthodox cities like Athens , Belgrade , Bucharest , Kiev , Odessa , Podgorica , Sofia , and Tbilisi . Even under the Trump administration, the US is in lockstep with our European Union friends in pressuring countries liberated from communism to adopt such nihilistic "democratic, European values ."

... and very, very friendly with Pope Francis, something many Orthodox, including most Russians, are outraged by ... In short, he is seen as a flunky for the globalists.

Perhaps even more important to its initiators, the row over Ukraine aims to break what they see as the "soft power" of the Russian Federation, of which the Orthodox Church is the spiritual heart and soul . As explained by Valeria Z. Nollan, professor emerita of Russian Studies at Rhodes College:

'The real goal of the quest for autocephaly [i.e., complete self-governing status independent of the Moscow Patriarchate ] of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a de facto coup: a political coup already took place in 2014, poisoning the relations between western Ukraine and Russia, and thus another type of coup – a religious one – similarly seeks to undermine the canonical relationship between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Moscow.'

In furthering these twin objectives (morally, the degrading of Orthodox Christianity; politically, undermining the Russian state as Orthodoxy's powerful traditional protector) it is increasingly clear that the United States government – and specifically the Department of State – has become a hands-on fomenter of conflict. After a short period of appropriately declaring that "any decision on autocephaly is an internal [Orthodox] church matter," the Department within days reversed its position and issued a formal statement (in the name of Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but clearly drafted by the European bureau) that skirted a direct call for autocephaly but gave the unmistakable impression of such backing. This is exactly how it was reported in the media, for example , "US backs Ukrainian Church bid for autocephaly." Finally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo weighed in personally with his own endorsement as did the US Reichskommissar for Ukraine , Kurt Volker .

The Threat

There soon became reason to believe that the State Department's involvement was not limited to exhortations. As reported by this analyst in October , according to an unconfirmed report originating with the members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (an autonomous New York-based jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate), in July of this year State Department officials (possibly including Secretary Pompeo personally) warned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (also based in New York but part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) that the US government was aware of the misappropriation of a large amount of money, about $10 million, from estimated $37 million raised from believers for the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine in New York.

The State Department warning also reportedly noted that federal prosecutors have documentary evidence confirming the withdrawal of these funds abroad on the orders of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was suggested that Secretary Pompeo would "close his eyes" to this theft in exchange for movement by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in favor of Ukrainian autocephaly, which helped set Patriarch Bartholomew on his current course.

[Further details on the St. Nicholas scandal are available here , but in summary: Only one place of worship of any faith was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attack in New York and only one building not part of the World Trade Center complex was completely destroyed. That was St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small urban parish church established at the end of World War I and dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, who is very popular with Greeks as the patron of sailors.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Port Authority, which opposed rebuilding the church, in 2011 the Greek Archdiocese launched an extensive campaign to raise funds for a brilliant innovative design by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava based on traditional Byzantine forms. Wealthy donors and those of modest means alike enthusiastically contributed millions to the effort. Then – poof! In December 2017, suddenly all construction was halted for lack of funds and remains stalled to this day . Resumption would require having an estimated $2 million on hand. Despite the Archdiocese's calling in a major accounting firm to conduct an audit , there's been no clear answer to what happened to the money. Both the US Attorney and New York state authorities are investigating .]

This is where things get back to Ukraine. If the State Department wanted to find the right button to push to spur Patriarch Bartholomew to move on the question of autocephaly, the Greek Archdiocese in the US is it. Let's keep in mind that in his home country, Turkey, Patriarch Bartholomew has virtually no local flock – only a few hundred mostly elderly Greeks left huddled in Istanbul's Phanar district. (Sometimes the Patriarchate is referred to simply as "the Phanar," much as "the Vatican" is shorthand for the Roman Catholic papacy.)

Whatever funds the Patriarchate derives from other sources (the Greek government, the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches), the Phanar's financial lifeline is the ethnic Greek community (including this analyst) in what is still quaintly called the "Diaspora" in places like America, Australia, and New Zealand. And of these, the biggest cash cow is the Greek-Americans.

That's why, when Patriarch Bartholomew issued a call in 2016 for what was billed as an Orthodox "Eighth Ecumenical Council" (the first one since the year 787!), the funds largely came from America, to the tune of up to $8 million according to the same confidential source as will be noted below. Intended by some as a modernizing Orthodox " Vatican II ," the event was doomed to failure by a boycott organized by Moscow over what the latter saw as Patriarch Bartholomew's adopting papal or even imperial prerogatives – now sadly coming to bear in Ukraine.

and the Payoff

On top of the foregoing, it now appears that the State Department's direct hand in this sordid business may not have consisted solely of wielding the "stick" of legal threat: there's reason to believe there was a "carrot" too. It very recently came to the attention of this analyst, via an unsolicited, confidential source in the Greek Archdiocese in New York, that a payment of $25 million in US government money was made to Constantinople to encourage Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on Ukraine.

The source for this confidential report was unaware of earlier media reports that the same figure – $25 million – was paid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Phanar as an incentive for Patriarch Bartholomew to move forward on creating an independent Ukrainian church. Moreover, Poroshenko evidently tried to shortchange the payment :

'Peter [Petro] Poroshenko -- the president of Ukraine -- was obligated to return $15 million US dollars to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which he had appropriated for himself.

'As reported by Izvestia , this occurred after the story about Bartholomew's bribe and a "vanishing" large sum designated for the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine surfaced in the mass media.

'As reported, on the eve of Poroshenko's visit in Istanbul, a few wealthy people of Ukraine "chipped in" in order to hasten the process of creating a Unified Local Orthodox Church. About $25 million was collected. They were supposed to go to the award ceremony for Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the issuing of a tomos of autocephaly. [A tomos is a small book containing a formal announcement .] However, in the words of people close to the backer, during the visit on April 9, Poroshenko handed over only $10 million.

'As a result, having learned of the deal, Bartholomew cancelled the participation of the delegation of the Phanar – the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople, in the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia on July 27 in Kiev.

'"Such a decision from Bartholomew's side was nothing other than a strong ultimatum to Poroshenko to return the stolen money. Of course, in order to not lose his face in light of the stark revelations of the creation of the tomos of autocephaly for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Peter Alexeevich [Poroshenko] had to just return those $15 million for the needs of Constantinople," a trusted source explained to reporters.

'For preliminary information, only after receiving the remaining sum, did Bartholomew finally give his consent to sending a delegation of the Phanar to Kiev '

Now, it's possible that the two identical figures of $25 million refer to two different pots of money (a cool $50 million!) but that seems unlikely. It's more probable the reports refer to the same sum as viewed from the sending side (the State Department, the Greek Archdiocese) and the delivery side (Poroshenko, Constantinople).

Lending credibility to the confidential information from New York and pointing to the probability that it refers to the same payment that Poroshenko reportedly sought to raid for himself are the following observations:

As one of this analyst's Greek-American connections puts it: "It's easy to comprehend the Patriarchate bowing to the pressure of State Dept. blackmail... not overly savory, but understandable. However, it's another thing altogether if Kiev truly "purchased" their autocephalous status from an all too willing Patriarchate ... which would relegate the Patriarch to 'salesman' status and leave the faithful wondering what else might be offered to the highest bidder the next time it became convenient to hold a Patriarchal 'fire sale' at the Phanar?!"

To add insult to injury, you'd think Constantinople at least could pay back some of the $7-8 million wasted on the Crete 2016 debacle to restart the St. Nicholas project in New York. Evidently the Phanar has better things to spend it on, like the demonstrative environmentalism of "the Green Patriarch" and, together with Pope Francis, welcoming Muslim migrants to Europe through Greece. Of course maybe there's no need to worry, as the Ukraine "sale" was consistent with Constantinople's papal ambitions , an uncanonical claim to " universal " status, and misuse of incarnational language and adoption of a breathtakingly arrogant tone that would cause even the most ultramontane proponent of the Rome's supremacy to blush.

Finally, it seems that, for the time being at least, Constantinople doesn't intend to create an independent Ukrainian church but rather an autonomous church under its own authority . It's unclear whether or not Poroshenko or the State Department, in such event, would believe they had gotten their money's worth. Perhaps they would. After all, the issue here is less what is appropriate for Ukraine than what strikes at Russia and injures the worldwide Christian witness of the Orthodox Church. To that end, it doesn't matter whether the new illegal body is Constantinopolitan or Kievan, just so long as it isn't a " Moskal church " linked to Russia.


Source: Strategic Culture
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[Nov 12, 2018] 57% of Tech Workers Are Suffering From Job Burnout, Survey Finds

Notable quotes:
"... Try working construction for minimum wage and not knowing where your next job will come from. Then have your blood pressure tested. ..."
"... I've watched it drive many people out. My own mentor told me when I first started "I'll tell you the first thing my Mentor told me, 'Get out now'". A bit much for a new engineer to take in, but now I know why he said it. Right before he left the company, he started telling me he wasn't sure how much longer he could handle the pressure. ..."
"... I find most of the stress in this industry is self induced by clueless fucks being in charge. ..."
"... I work with people who proudly complain about "working until 2 am" or willingly take on all kinds of client work at ridiculous times because it burnishes their reputation. ..."
"... My understanding would be Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. although I've only really heard from people that have worked at Amazon. They hire new young and eager workers who they can work and fire them when they burn out. However, just as many leave before that. It's all part of an understood system where new workers agree to be overworked while padding their resume and looking for a new job. This lasts for an average of 18 months before they have found a new job or get laid off. ..."
"... The no vacation thing pisses me off. My entire adult life, I've only had one "real" vacation if you define it as a whole week off. ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org

An anonymous reader writes: A survey conducted among the tech workers, including many employees of Silicon Valley's elite tech companies, has revealed that over 57% of respondents are suffering from job burnout . The survey was carried out by the makers of an app that allows employees to review workplaces and have anonymous conversations at work, behind their employers' backs. Over 11K employees answered one question -- if they suffer from job burnout, and 57.16% said "Yes."

The company with the highest employee burnout rate was Credit Karma, with a whopping 70.73%, followed by Twitch (68.75%), Nvidia (65.38%), Expedia (65.00%), and Oath (63.03% -- Oath being the former Yahoo company Verizon bought in July 2017). On the other end of the spectrum, Netflix ranked with the lowest burnout rate of only 38.89%, followed by PayPal (41.82%), Twitter (43.90%), Facebook (48.97%), and Uber (49.52%).

110010001000 ( 697113 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:14AM ( #56847422 ) Homepage Journal
Re:I just landed my first career IT gig ( Score: 4 , Insightful)

Try working construction for minimum wage and not knowing where your next job will come from. Then have your blood pressure tested.

Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:38AM ( #56847554 )
Re:I just landed my first career IT gig ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

This is usually the type of thing I tell myself to keep perspective. But the truth is that tech jobs can be stressful too. I imagine people in blue collar jobs believe we are living high on the hog with not a care in the world, but it's not really that way. But I also have two brothers that work jobs requiring much more manual labor. It absolutely takes a toll on your body.

We've recently had a few people come over to hardware management (I am a hardware developer). Both my manager and I told them, hardware projects change EVERY DAY. Every day its, "so and so (big customer) just had issues with this", or "The market is way behind on these parts and we are short", or "The product you just designed is failing ____ test right now, what are we doing to fix it".

I've watched it drive many people out. My own mentor told me when I first started "I'll tell you the first thing my Mentor told me, 'Get out now'". A bit much for a new engineer to take in, but now I know why he said it. Right before he left the company, he started telling me he wasn't sure how much longer he could handle the pressure.

Honestly, I don't care as much about the pay, the fancy benefits, or any of the fluff. What has nearly drove me out is when I feel like every day is just another barrage of unbounded problems. Like you're the guy on the track, your problem is the chains holding you there, and management is driving the train and they aren't slowing it down. You better get those chains undone.

I've been an auto mechanic, welder, machinist, and now EE. My back-up plan / exit strategy is machining. I enjoy it, it is so much more bounded (in my opinion), and still presents good challenges to keep me engaged. I already have a colleague in another company on his way. We've talked at length about it.

Re:I just landed my first career IT gig ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by Shotgun ( 30919 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @05:10PM ( #56849950 )

I worked for a large company that made networking equipment. My job was to run a sanity test framework for their operating system. Developers load the images in a queue, the system pulls them, loads them on real hardware, and executes a body of tests.

The problem was that a bad image would hose the system to where it couldn't reboot, and then it would not be able to correct itself. Every image after that would fail. My job was to come in, clean up the mess, and apologize to each developer. It was actually stressful.

I repeatedly told the manager how I could fix it, and he always said we didn't have time. I waited for him to travel for a week, I shut down the system, and fixed it so that the system got completely initialized between every run. From that point on, every failure was a real failure cause by that developer's changes.

My job became a cake walk. I find most of the stress in this industry is self induced by clueless fucks being in charge.

Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @03:57PM ( #56849582 )
Re:I just landed my first career IT gig ( Score: 5 , Insightful)
But the truth is that tech jobs can be stressful too. I imagine people in blue collar jobs believe we are living high on the hog with not a care in the world, but it's not really that way.

I was pulling long hours one week to try and finish a software update in time. The deadline was fast approaching and the outlook was grim. As usual, the cleaning lady came by to collect the trash that evening and we got to chit-chatting like we usually did (I arrived late and stayed late back then, so my being there when she did her rounds was perfectly normal). Part way through the conversation she paused for a moment, then said something to the effect of, "You know, before I started working here I used to think that you guys all had it easy with your cushy jobs and nice offices. But then I see people here with the look that you have in your eyes right now and I realize I was wrong. It's just as tough. Different, but just as tough, if not tougher."

I think I mustered a tired "Thanks?" in response.

I don't make any claim to having it tougher than anyone else (I have a MASSIVE appreciation for manual workers, among many other fields, since I couldn't do that work), but the only people I find suggesting that tech work is easy are those who either aren't in the field and have no awareness of what it entails, or those who are a burden on everyone else around them in the field.

Strawmen galore! ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by sjbe ( 173966 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @11:16AM ( #56847726 )
Yes, but the stress that tech people experience is completely fake. It REALLY doesn't matter if your work is done on time.

It does if you want to remain employed with your current company. If that doesn't matter to you then you probably aren't stressed to begin with. If anyone who worked for me expressed that attitude they would be "succeeding elsewhere" in short order.

No one is going to die if your software or network doesn't work.

I'd like to introduce you to some folks who work in medical IT who will disagree with you rather strongly. Same thing with software that controls/drives cars or airplanes or manned rockets or traffic signals or ocean navigation or food safety or electrical grids or nuclear reactor controls or.... The list is very long for things that actually do matter. Yeah, nobody probably cares if your word processor crashes but more than a few of us do things that have serious consequences.

Amazingly humans survived for thousands of years without IT or computers.

Ok we're done here. Claiming people shouldn't have stress because computers didn't exist 200 years ago is irrelevant and stupid.

Surprise, working people to death leads to burnout ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by sinij ( 911942 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:12AM ( #56847414 )

Tech work culture is seriously broken when 80 hour weeks and never going on vacation for any reason is encouraged and celebrated. Burnout under such conditions is inevitable .

swb ( 14022 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @11:59AM ( #56848012 )
Re:Surprise, working people to death leads to burn ( Score: 4 , Informative)

I work with people who proudly complain about "working until 2 am" or willingly take on all kinds of client work at ridiculous times because it burnishes their reputation.

Some after hours work is unavoidable in IT, but I just refuse to work those kinds of hours regularly without added compensation of some kind (added vacation days without strings and/or more money).

As a more skilled/experienced/older worker, I think I can get away with it but I'm not gonna lie, the people who do it seem to have more street cred in the organization because they are willing to bend over.

I think it's highly organization dependent and sometimes individually dependent (ie, can you get done what needs doing in normal work hours). And I think there are definitely orgs where if you're not doing that, you might as well resign now because you will get shuffled to the shit work.

110010001000 ( 697113 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

Nobody really does. Drama queens. If you are regularly working 80 hour weeks in IT, you are dumb or you just really like to work.

Kjella ( 173770 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I worked 55-60 hours a week for most of a year, mainly due to two senior people leaving with a month's difference and a third knocked his head pretty bad leaving me and a few juniors to sort it out. That was as an IT consultant job though so I had a billing bonus that gave me pretty good kickback. If I recall correctly it kicked in at about 2/3rd = 67% billable time and the company average was 75-80% somewhere, so your average consultant would get bonus for like 10% while I could hit 50%+. Normally they wouldn't'

painandgreed ( 692585 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )
I hear this all the time but WTH actually does this? Anyone here at slashdot? Even when I was younger I did an all nighter just once or twice. I've been working 8 hour days the last 15 years.

My understanding would be Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. although I've only really heard from people that have worked at Amazon. They hire new young and eager workers who they can work and fire them when they burn out. However, just as many leave before that. It's all part of an understood system where new workers agree to be overworked while padding their resume and looking for a new job. This lasts for an average of 18 months before they have found a new job or get laid off. They hopefully hop to

greenwow ( 3635575 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

The no vacation thing pisses me off. My entire adult life, I've only had one "real" vacation if you define it as a whole week off.

One reason there's such a lack of vacation time here in Seattle is that in Washington state, the law only requires less than 2/3 be paid out. In CA, we have to pay out 100%. That's why in CA we require employees to take PTO to get it off of the books, but in WA we basically don't allow vacation time. No company I've ever worked for let programmers take even a fifth (as a guess)

rnturn ( 11092 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I worked for a companies where IT people used to look for places to go on vacation that had no phones or pager service. For one co-worker's rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon started a trend among the IT staff: where can I go where the phone/pager coverage is really poor or non-existent? Far, far North Canadian fishing trips started getting considered. Can't have people actually having an outside-of-work life so the companies bought satellite phones. No more vacations for you withou

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Informative)
If you work under such conditions by choice then it is on your shoulders alone.

No, you're wrong. Those working conditions are spreading everywhere. Companies have figured out that instead of hiring more people, they can force others to work more for the same pay.

Don't

sinij ( 911942 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @11:41AM ( #56847866 )
Re:Manage your choices wisely ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

It is very nice to be independently wealthy and not have to worry about getting a paycheck, but for the rest of us we have to do it for a paycheck or face homelessness and possibly starvation.

If all available work is under such conditions, is that really a choice?

sjbe ( 173966 ) writes:
Options ( Score: 3 )
It is very nice to be independently wealthy and not have to worry about getting a paycheck, but for the rest of us we have to do it for a paycheck or face homelessness and possibly starvation.

You don't have to be independently wealthy to make a living doing something that you don't enjoy. If you hate IT work then go find something else to do. It's a big world with lots of opportunity.

If all available work is under such conditions, is that really a choice?

Are you seriously claiming that someone who is bright enough to find work in the tech sector will find it impossible to do something else if they put their mind to it? Possibly even something they actually enjoy doing with reasonable hours and adequate pay. Point is very few people are forced to work in IT. Arg

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by sinij ( 911942 ) writes:
It's a big world with lots of opportunity.

Old timer, this is no longer the case. It may have been true when you were young, but these days it is IT, gigs, or unemployment. Too many people in a globally connected world competing for the same few jobs.

Re: ( Score: 3 ) by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) writes:

That's hilarious. Do you have any idea how many jobs there are available in academia? Not many. The issue is that if you do what you love, what's the incentive to stop? There's a reason that the average age of professors always hovers in the 50s and 60s. It's not uncommon to find semi-retired professors still kicking around well into their 70s teaching one or two classes they love.

sjbe ( 173966 ) writes:
More than just money ( Score: 2 )
Who ISNT working for a paycheck?

Do I really have to explain that some people don't really give a shit about what they are doing? Sure everyone works to get paid but some people actually try to enjoy what they are doing along the way so that the job is more than just a means to get money.

registrations_suck ( 1075251 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
I've taken 4 weeks of vacation in 30 years. One week when my dad died. One week for a camping trip, and the remaining two weeks were for things like my children being born.

Then you've been suckered, or have different priorities. One year, I took 6 weeks off to travel around the country. Another year, I took 4 weeks off and went to Australia. Another year, I took 6

Gee, I can't imagine why? ( Score: 5 , Insightful) by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:12AM ( #56847416 )

Long on call hours. Declining inflation adjusted wages. Having to spend hours and hours of your own time training because companies don't train anymore. Constant threats of outsourcing or being replaced by an H1-B applicant (despite the fact that that is explicitly illegal).

so... ( Score: 5 , Informative) by buddyglass ( 925859 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:50AM ( #56847618 )

Does this result argue for wider adoption of Netflix's H.R. model, as expressed in the manifesto [slideshare.net] that went viral a few years back? Namely:

1. Hire "A" players, because the competence of one's coworkers is a large contributor to employee satisfaction.
2. Don't use golden handcuffs as a means of mitigating hiring churn; you want employees to stay at the company because they want to be there. Employees choose how much stock they want vs. cash.
3. Don't use performance based bonuses; high performance is the base level expectation, not something to be singled out and rewarded.
4. "We're a team, not a family." You don't "cut" people from a family; you do "cut" people from a pro sports team.
5. "Hard work - Not Relevant". They care about productivity, not how hard you worked to be productive.
6. Low tolerance for "brilliant jerks".
7. Pay "top of market" wages. "One outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than two 'adequate' employees." "Employees should feel they are being paid well relative to other options in the market."

meaningless wanking ( Score: 5 , Interesting) by argStyopa ( 232550 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @11:25AM ( #56847766 ) Journal

A single data point is statistically meaningless "woe is us" wanking UNLESS other industries are surveyed.

If the "burnout" rate for tech workers is 57%, but for medical workers is 75%, factory line workers is 62%, and teachers is 60%, then the rate for tech workers is really not bad.
If OTOH other industries scale at 20-30%, then the tech sector really is dire.

In short: I suspect that everyone feels like they are underappreciated, underpaid, and is "fed up with all the bullshit at work"...like everyone else.

The office ( Score: 4 , Interesting) by Anonymous Coward writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:50AM ( #56847616 )

I've done a lot of Peopleware like consulting, mostly for software development teams. The IT office space is in general the enemy of these teams. They are noisy and destroy your concentration. You can only break someones concentration for a finite number per day, certainly with introverts, after that the dev is just excausted. As a rule of thumb, the correlation is more people wearing headphones -> more burnout. It's fucked up that people need to wear headphones to attempt to do their work, and a clear sign the environment is poison to their jobs. Of course they put all these people in the same space, to save money. Hardly ever do they do the math, and contemplate how much it costs them in burnout and turnover.

so... ( Score: 5 , Informative) by buddyglass ( 925859 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:50AM ( #56847618 )

Does this result argue for wider adoption of Netflix's H.R. model, as expressed in the manifesto [slideshare.net] that went viral a few years back? Namely:

1. Hire "A" players, because the competence of one's coworkers is a large contributor to employee satisfaction.
2. Don't use golden handcuffs as a means of mitigating hiring churn; you want employees to stay at the company because they want to be there. Employees choose how much stock they want vs. cash.
3. Don't use performance based bonuses; high performance is the base level expectation, not something to be singled out and rewarded.
4. "We're a team, not a family." You don't "cut" people from a family; you do "cut" people from a pro sports team.
5. "Hard work - Not Relevant". They care about productivity, not how hard you worked to be productive.
6. Low tolerance for "brilliant jerks".
7. Pay "top of market" wages. "One outstanding employee gets more done and costs less than two 'adequate' employees." "Employees should feel they are being paid well relative to other options in the market."

TFlan91 ( 2615727 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @11:36AM ( #56847834 )
Re:so... ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Then refuse to work, yes you may get fired, but what's worse than getting fired? Working for free.

My boss is lucky if I even look at my phone off-business-hours, let alone pick it up and respond.

Sure, if an email is prefixed with "URGENT" or whatever, I take a look, but then I lazily come in the next day an hour or two "late".

It's all about the contract you signed with your employer. Don't sign shit you haven't read, and don't sign away your youth for pennies.

Am I surprised? ( Score: 4 , Insightful) by whitroth ( 9367 ) writes: < whitroth@5-ce[ ]us ['nt.' in gap] > on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @12:35PM ( #56848258 ) Homepage

Yep, so many folks LOOOVVVVEEE 50, 60, 70 hour weeks, and having to respond to the boss 24x7x365.25. Who needs a life?

UNIONS are why we have benefits, weekends, holidays and vacations. No company did that out of the alleged kindness of their hearts.

But none of you here need them, they're *so* "ancient", never mind they could get you a 40 hour week and no being bothered off hours, no, enjoy your (non-) life.

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes: on Tuesday June 26, 2018 @10:24AM ( #56847470 )
Re:Demand vaca time and use it. ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Always take it. Every year -- don't set a precedent that you're overly hard-working...

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

What's wrong with not being promoted -- just do your job well, take your pay and vacation time. Work to live, don't live to work. A snazzy job title isn't the pinnacle of human achievement.

Hydrian ( 183536 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

Because US's annual raises rarely meet the US's annual inflation rates. So you are forced to move up the salary chain or effectively get a pay cut ever year.

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:

That's when you job-jump laterally between companies... loyalty is a cruel joke in IT.

ranton ( 36917 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
What's wrong with not being promoted -- just do your job well, take your pay and vacation time. Work to live, don't live to work. A snazzy job title isn't the pinnacle of human achievement.

While I agree with the sentiment that most people shouldn't feel pressured into living to work, the pinnacle of human achievement in any discipline is nearly always achieved through an insane devotion to the task. The people responsible for this level of excellence generally live to work.

There is nothing wrong with working to live, but there often is nothing wrong with living to work as long as it is a decision made freely.

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

The medical field in the US still values its employees, unlike IT.

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 3 )

Or at least raise the wage floor where overtime == time and a half. Obama tried this, Trump unfortunately rolled it back. Also, sometimes you need to work overtime two weeks in a row, crunch time to finish a project. I'd change that requirement to get the time back to something like a 2-3 month period.

Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

In my field, year-long spikes are common.

I'd support having all such things (including scheduled days off, vacation, overtime/comp time, etc.) kept indefinitely, with maximum caps for each kind. If an employee leaves for any reason, including being fired, they get paid out whatever they haven't used.

I'm quite happy to help my team meet their goals and go the extra mile to deliver a quality product to our customer..... but I certainly expect that once that's done, I'll get to go spend time with my family.

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

If the spike is a year long, time to hire more people vs abusing your own workers.

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) writes:

Then in the off years, we'd have layoffs.

People tend to like that even less.

Re: ( Score: 2 ) by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:

Hire people as term-contract workers with the understanding that they're temporary unless otherwise informed.

Chrisq ( 894406 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
40 hour work weeks, enforced. 30 days paid vacation per year, plus holidays and weekends.

Par for the course in the UK.

If you work overtime one week, you get those hours back the next week.

Not par for the course, but it's pretty common the you will get it back sometime. A busy period coming up to a deadline could cover a few weeks.

Everyone gets two days off in a row every week.

.. usually happens

If you give up those days for some special reason, you get comp vacation time to be used within the next month.

You would usually get this, but may have to wait until the peak is over before taking the time back. Alternatively you could be paid - time and a half is quite common

Everyone takes all their vacation, every year.

In the UK it's exceptional for anyone not to take all their time. A company I worked for switched the "holiday year" from a fixed January-December to a ye

b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Insightful)

$250k/yr if you have no time to enjoy it is worthless unless you plan to work for a few years, live like a miser, and invest enough of it in rental property so you never have to work again.

greenwow ( 3635575 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

I work with several devs making nearly that much, and they most certainly are burned out. When you work constant death marches with Seattle Hundreds (16 hours a day Mon-Thu and 12 hours a day Fri-Sun) that almost always happens. I work almost that much, and I moved over a year ago and still haven't even unpacked yet. High pay helps, but you still have a breaking point. There just aren't enough programmers to meet demand.

djinn6 ( 1868030 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

How does the company even end up with 100 hours of work per week for everyone? Is that all essential work, or just busywork? If burnout rate is super high, wouldn't you end up with even more work and fewer people to do it?

greenwow ( 3635575 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
...end up with even more work and fewer people to do it?

The part I find fascinating about that is that the junior/recent college grads stick with jobs despite the long hours for the experience and the most experienced people stick with jobs because they know it's the same most everywhere else. I guess it's the devil you know. The guys in the middle with five to fifteen years experience are the ones that keep jumping ship to try to find somewhere better.

My company has about eighty people with less than three years experience and around twenty with more than tw

registrations_suck ( 1075251 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )
I work with several devs making nearly that much, and they most certainly are burned out. When you work constant death marches with Seattle Hundreds (16 hours a day Mon-Thu and 12 hours a day Fri-Sun) that almost always happens. I work almost that much, and I moved over a year ago and still haven't even unpacked yet. High pay helps, but you still have a breaking point. There just aren't enough programmers to meet demand.

I've never worked anywhere with that kind of schedule....or known anyone who has. Then again, I have never lived in shit holes like Seattle or California.

I simply wouldn't work like that. If it were that, or go on welfare, I'd say fuck it and go on welfare, or just rob houses for a living - leaving that kind of schedule to the suckers.

If my employer required me to work more than 50 hours per week on anything other than a rare occasion, I'd find a new employer. ASAP.

Anonymous Coward writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 , Funny)
Too many tech jobs are just cleaning up after Indian disaster after Indian disaster. And not in any sort of permanent way, just putting out the same fires over and over.

There are two kinds of IT people. Those who create. And those who fix creations. If you're tired of doing one, then figure out how to get paid doing the other, and feel good knowing you'll be working to fix

[Nov 08, 2018] Technology Detox The Health Benefits of Unplugging Unwinding by Sara Tipton

Notable quotes:
"... Another great tip is to buy one of those old-school alarm clocks so the smartphone isn't ever in your bedroom. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Sara Tipton via ReadyNutrition.com,

Recent studies have shown that 90% of Americans use digital devices for two or more hours each day and the average American spends more time a day on high-tech devices than they do sleeping: 8 hours and 21 minutes to be exact. If you've ever considered attempting a "digital detox", there are some health benefits to making that change and a few tips to make things a little easier on yourself.

Many Americans are on their phones rather than playing with their children or spending quality family time together. Some people give up technology, or certain aspects of it, such as social media for varying reasons, and there are some shockingly terrific health benefits that come along with that type of a detox from technology. In fact, more and more health experts and medical professionals are suggesting a periodic digital detox; an extended period without those technology gadgets. Studies continue to show that a digital detox, has proven to be beneficial for relationships, productivity, physical health, and mental health. If you find yourself overly stressed or unproductive or generally disengaged from those closest to you, it might be time to unplug.

DIGITAL ADDICTION RESOLUTION

It may go unnoticed but there are many who are actually addicted to their smartphones or tablet. It could be social media or YouTube videos, but these are the people who never step away. They are the ones with their face in their phone while out to dinner with their family. They can't have a quiet dinner without their phone on the table. We've seen them at the grocery store aimlessly pushing around a cart while ignoring their children and scrolling on their phone. A whopping 83% of American teenagers claim to play video games while other people are in the same room and 92% of teens report to going online daily . 24% of those users access the internet via laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Addiction therapists who treat gadget-obsessed people say their patients aren't that different from other kinds of addicts. Whereas alcohol, tobacco, and drugs involve a substance that a user's body gets addicted to, in behavioral addiction, it's the mind's craving to turn to the smartphone or the Internet. Taking a break teaches us that we can live without constant stimulation, and lessens our dependence on electronics. Trust us: that Facebook message with a funny meme attached or juicy tidbit of gossip can wait.

IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS AND BE MORE PERSONABLE

Another benefit to keeping all your electronics off is that it will allow you to establish good mannerisms and people skills and build your relationships to a strong level of connection. If you have ever sat across someone at the dinner table who made more phone contact than eye contact, you know it feels to take a backseat to a screen. Cell phones and other gadgets force people to look down and away from their surroundings, giving them a closed off and inaccessible (and often rude) demeanor. A digital detox has the potential of forcing you out of that unhealthy comfort zone. It could be a start toward rebuilding a struggling relationship too. In a Forbes study , 3 out of 5 people claimed that they spend more time on their digital devices than they do with their partners. This can pose a real threat to building and maintaining real-life relationships. The next time you find yourself going out on a dinner date, try leaving your cell phone and other devices at home and actually have a conversation. Your significant other will thank you.

BETTER SLEEP AND HEALTHIER EATING HABITS

The sleep interference caused by these high-tech gadgets is another mental health concern. The stimulation caused by artificial light can make you feel more awake than you really are, which can potentially interfere with your sleep quality. It is recommended that you give yourself at least two hours of technology-free time before bedtime. The "blue light" has been shown to interfere with sleeping patterns by inhibiting melatonin (the hormone which controls our sleep/wake cycle known as circadian rhythm) production. Try shutting off your phone after dinner and leaving it in a room other than your bedroom. Another great tip is to buy one of those old-school alarm clocks so the smartphone isn't ever in your bedroom. This will help your body readjust to a normal and healthy sleep schedule.

Your eating habits can also suffer if you spend too much time checking your newsfeed. The Rochester Institute of Technology released a study that revealed students are more likely to eat while staring into digital media than they are to eat at a dinner table. This means that eating has now become a multi-tasking activity, rather than a social and loving experience in which healthy foods meant to sustain the body are consumed. This can prevent students from eating consciously, which promotes unhealthy eating habits such as overeating and easy choices, such as a bag of chips as opposed to washing and peeling some carrots. Whether you're an overworked college student checking your Facebook, or a single bachelor watching reruns of The Office , a digital detox is a great way to promote healthy and conscious eating.

IMPROVE OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH

Social media addicts experience a wide array of emotions when looking at the photos of Instagram models and the exercise regimes of others who live in exotic locations. These emotions can be mentally draining and psychologically unhealthy and lead to depression. Smartphone use has been linked to loneliness, shyness, and less engagement at work. In other words, one may have many "social media friends" while being lonely and unsatisfied because those friends are only accessible through their screen. Start by limiting your time on social media. Log out of all social media accounts. That way, you've actually got to log back in if you want to see what that Parisian Instagram vegan model is up to.

If you feel like a detox is in order but don't know how to go about it, start off small. Try shutting off your phone after dinner and don't turn it back on until after breakfast. Keep your phone in another room besides your bedroom overnight. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, buy a cheap alarm clock to use instead to lessen your dependence on your phone. Boredom is often the biggest factor in the beginning stages of a detox, but try playing an undistracted board game with your children, leaving your phone at home during a nice dinner out, or playing with a pet. All of these things are not only good for you but good for your family and beloved furry critter as well!

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Oct 27, 2018] Don't Talk to the Police - YouTube

Oct 27, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Don't Talk to the Police Regent University School of Law

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Published on Mar 20, 2012

Regent Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials. Download his article on the topic at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf... .

[Oct 26, 2018] I expect further fallout once the confiscation of canonical Church property and buildings takes place in Ukraine

Oct 26, 2018 | www.unz.com

Epigon says: October 19, 2018 at 3:48 pm GMT

One cannot fully grasp the significance of Autocephaly, Autonomy, Patriarchate status without being VERY WELL versed in Orthodox traditions, canon law and historical examples.

It was a very contested and important issue in Medieval period, with both Bulgarians and Serbs rising to it, then falling down after being crushed by Byzantines and/or Ottomans.

The Ottomans were very much sponsors of Greek Orthodoxy, imposing Greek clergy to local Orthodox populations of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, the primary reason why Orthodoxy is practically extinct there today.

The Ottomans also abolished Bulgarian and Serb national churches and subjugated them to Greeks in Constantinople.

The path and procedure of elevating a national church and an episcope to the above mentioned ranks is strictly and precisely defined. Ecumenical Patriarch trampled over it.

That is why other Autocephalus Churches will be opposed to it – hence, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church granted Autocephaly will not be in communion with the rest of them.

I expect further fallout once the confiscation of canonical Church property and buildings takes place in Ukraine.

EugeneGur, October 19, 2018 at 4:06 pm GMT

It would be an exceedingly sad and ignominious end to see the lingering remnant of a glorious empire do give in to blackmail and foreign pressure.

This is unfortunately true. This is also the prime motivation of the Head of the so-called Ukrainian Church of Kiev Patriarchy Filaret. That guy tried to become the Russian Patriarch but was defeated in the elections. Then he established that schismatic Ukrainian Church and was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church, to which he belonged. He is also known for his support for the killings in Donbass, which isn't exactly christian of him.

The problem, for him, is that the Ukrainian Church of Moscow Patriarchy has in its possession a number of churches and monasteries that Filaret covets. Specifically, he and his followers have the eyes on Kiev-Pecherskaya Lavra, or Church on caves. Lavra is a title given to monasteries for particular cultural achievements and religious significance. It dates from 11th century AD from the pre-Mongol times. It contains graves of the Russian princes, of Nestor (who created one of the earliest . historical chronicles), and of Petr Stolypin, the Russian Prime Minister in 1906-11.

This is our common legacy, which doesn't in any way belong to those neo-Nazis scumbags. I am an atheist and I don't particularly care for specifically religious matters. But I do care about the cultural side of things, those nationalistic monkeys know nothing about.

I hate to see Andreevskaya Church built by Rastrelli, the same architect that built the Winter Palace in St.Petersburg, given to that abomination of Filaret. I'd hate to see that happen to Lavra, as would the whole of Russia.

In short, this is a lot more than a religious dispute – this is an attempt at destruction of our cultural roots. In essence, this is a continuation of what the German Nazis tried to do 70 years ago by other means.

European-American , says: October 19, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT

I would have appreciated a short explanation of what this is about, if anything.

The post seems very long and starts with a 12th-century quotation which, though no doubt pertinent and interesting to people who know about this, is way above my head. What follows seems technical with a lot of obscure words.

But the title was appealing Perhaps an introductory paragraph for people who only have the vaguest notion of the politics within the Orthodox Church(es?) would have been sufficient to let us follow rather than be utterly baffled.

Just a suggestion I can probably survive without understanding this.

Epigon , says: October 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, he does not believe a word he wrote because he does not care about the church this way or another but he cares about the political aspect and how important it is for Russia or how important it is for Russia to make an issue out of it. I think it might be a sign he is moving up in the world. Good for him.

My thoughts exactly.

[Oct 26, 2018] UOC-MP (Filaret included) sided with Ukrainian state in the Civil war

So Poroshenko wanted and got a church that is a lapdog of Ukrainian government. Nothing new here. Baltic states did the dame.
Oct 26, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail says: Website October 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm GMT 700 Words @AP

The Russian Orthodox Church seems to mirror the Russian State whom it serves, in not being openly at war with Ukraine but nevertheless working against it when doing so serves the interests of the Russian state. So its priests openly blessing NAF fighters as they go to kill Ukrainians have been sanctioned, OTOH Girkin was being helped by the Russian Orthodox Church and NAF fighters have been quietly given refuge in Moscow's churches (a Brazilian volunteer was found hiding in one on Kiev).

Compared ot Filaret's church, the UOC-MP has been more neutral about the war in Donbass. The aforementioned priests bless soldiers in their (priests) area who seek such. Not on par with the comments UOC-MP (Filaret included) have made on the civil war. it can be said that Filaret and his church pray for those who kill rebel supporters.

The aforementioned Brazilian sough refuge and was understandably given such, seeing the conditions people like him have faced when taken by the Kiev regime side.

And the Russian patriarch is of course on excellent terms with Putin whom he serves and whom he awards. So as long as the Ukrainian Orthodox are under Moscow they are forced to pray to a Patriarch who serves and celebrates Putin. They would rather not be in such a situation. Moving them under Constantinople fixes this problem and returns them to Orthodoxy.

Constantinople has made the problem worse by giving the Kiev regime and Filaret a premise (misguided that it is notwithstanding) to seize UOC-MP property. The Porky-Filaret tandem is one that many UOC aren't supportive of.

He also added that the priests of the Sviatohirsk Lavra blessed his gang formation in 2014 at the beginning of hostilities in Donbas.

According to him, he then hoped that the entire hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) would overtly support them, but this did not happen.

Currently, Girkin has no doubt that a significant part of the UOC-MP will "run" to the autocephalous Ukrainian Church, and he even knows such bishops who are ready to do so.

You earlier noted UOC-MP support/sympathy for the rebels. Nothing is stopping Onufry and others from the UOC-MP to break with the ROC-MP -- along the lines of Filaret. The UOC-MP faces much pressure from the Kiev regime and some nationalist elements.

Veneration of Andrey Bogolubsky who sacked Kiev, slaughtered many of its inhabitants and generally treated Kiev as the crusaders treated Constantinople is another ridiculous thing that Ukrainian Orthodox are forced to put up with if they belong to Moscow's Church.

What kind of veneration ? That attack was part of a civil war, with looting having been an unfortunate aspect. Sherman wasn't more civil towards Atlanta. neither was the Mongol conquest of Kiev and other parts of Rus.

Their Church is riddled with KGB and FSB men at the highest levels (not that Filaret was different, of course). KGB/FSB are not hardcore Russian nationalists. But they, as does the ROC, serve the Russian state.

Along the lines of saying that the Vatican has been riddled with Nazi sympathizers. No denying that the ROC-MP was very much compromised during the Soviet period. It's a very different and improved era.

In comparison, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church seems more riddled with Bandera supporters.

Well, if it wants to present itself as and truly be the All Rus Church and bearer of the Rus legacy that united all Eastern Slavs, that was forced to move to Vladimir and Moscow by the Polish annexation of Rus heartland, it would make sense to return to Kiev after Kiev was "liberated." But it didn't happen, this all Rus stuff was cheap propaganda, it remained Russia's Church (despite having gotten a bunch of Ukrainians as leaders in the 18th century).

The directly above excerpted is cheap propaganda. Capitals of nations, sports teams, corporate businesses and other entities have been known to change their locale or main locale for a variety of reasons. Besides, occurrences like WW II and the present Kiev regime situation indicate that Russia is a more secure place.

BTW, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church shifted its main office from Lviv to Kiev.

Thim , October 21, 2018 at 4:28 pm GMT

Moscow cannot do much, it is still too weak. The enemy seeks a war now. Surely they will take the churches by force, hoping for war now. Now is the time for wisdom.

Mikhail says: Website

October 22, 2018 at 3:10 pm GMT

Gvosdev article follow-up

Re: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/heres-whats-really-going-orthodox-church-ukraine-and-russia-33922

Excerpt –

I am starting to get annoyed at the number of commentators who have no background in Orthodox ecclesiology and scant knowledge of Byzantine, Ukrainian and Russian history or about the contemporary realities of religious life throughout the former Soviet Union. These pundits nevertheless feel confident to deliver sweeping pronouncements about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church situation and its ramifications for the Moscow Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church as a whole.

A point that concerns some of what's said and not said in the above linked article. For example, it's not noted that Filaret Denisenko's drive for a completely separate Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate, came only after he didn't get a promotion within the Moscow Patriarchate. Up to that point, he was a firm believer in the Moscow Patriarchate having ties with the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and Orthodox Churches from some other parts of the former USSR.

Excerpt –

Finally, there are those Ukrainian Orthodox who argue that Russian Orthodoxy is utterly separate and unrelated to Ukrainian Orthodoxy and point to events such as Andrey Bogolyubsky sack of Kiev in 1169 as early evidence of Russian-Ukrainian antagonism. Even those who might concede that Russian Orthodoxy developed as a result of the conversion of Kiev would point out that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, certainly since the fifteenth century was evolving separately from the Russian Orthodox Church and that it was unjustly merged with the Russian Church, first during the Russian Empire, then the Soviet Union.

Bogolyubsky's grandfather was a grand prince of Kiev. On two different occasions, his father had that very same title, during a period when Kiev went thru numerous grand princes. In short, Bogolyubsky had a claim to the Kiev throne. The aforementioned sack of Kiev by Bogolyubsky's forces wasn't so much of a foreign attack – but more along the lines of Sherman's razing of Atlanta. Bogolyubsky had the desire to simultaneously build and expand Rus, thereby explaining his presence in Suzdal, while feeling akin to Kiev.

The initial Polish occupation of much of modern day Ukrainian territory, played a role in whatever differing characteristics developed, with Orthodox Christian identity within what had comprised Rus. Upon Russia's victory over Poland and the former's gathering of Rus territory (which Poland occupied), there was no wide scale opposition by the ancestors of modern day Ukrainians, with being under the same Orthodox Church as Russia.

For President Vladimir Putin, major defections from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate would represent one of the clearest rejections of his view that Ukrainian and Russians form a single people and civilization; it would, in essence, be Ukrainians voting with their feet to reject that proposition. On the other hand, if President Poroshenko's government begins to use administrative pressures to compel priests and parishes to break their ecclesiastical ties to Moscow, this could prove politically destabilizing both in Ukraine and complicate its relations with the West.

For the Ukrainian nationalist advocacy being pursued by Poroshenko, the presence of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church that's loosely affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, is a rejection of the agenda to separate Ukraine from Russia as much as possible.

Regarding that view is this piece concerning attitudes in Ukraine about Russia:

https://insomniacresurrected.com/2018/10/21/ukrainian-opinion-of-russia-improves-and-it-is-bad-apparently/

Excerpt –

Stepan Khmara is ashamed almost 50% of his countrymen, despite the war, still positively have positive attitude towards Russia. He thinks that half of the country are good 'Little Russians' and 'Moskovske bydlo'. He invokes history from the Holodomor and Soviet takeover of Western Ukraine. He bemoans the fact that even in Western Ukraine, 31% of the respondents also had positive attitude towards Russia.

A recent RFE/RL article says that most of Ukraine's Orthodox Christian faithful follow the Orthodox Church with loose ties to the Moscow Patriarchate.

https://www.rferl.org/a/long-russia-s-patriarch-kirill-blames-istanbul-orthodox-church-for-schism-/29553467.html

Whatever the case is, a noticeable number in that area follow that church. Can imagine the outcry in some circles if an effort was made to eliminate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on the basis of having an imperial legacy with Poland that involved the suppression of the Orthodox Church.

Mikhail , says: Website October 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm GMT

Splendidly excellent reply to the idiotic Tom Rogan Washington Examiner article:

http://theduran.com/how-other-jurisdictions-view-constantinoples-actions-in-ukraine/

[Oct 22, 2018] The Empire splits the Orthodox world possible consequences by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... First, all Churches are equal, there is no Pope, no "historical see" granting any primacy just as all the Apostles of Christ and all Orthodox bishops are also equals; ..."
"... Second, crucial decisions, decisions which affect the entire Church, are only taken by a Council of the entire Church, not unilaterally by any one man or any one Church. ..."
"... These are really the basics of what could be called "traditional Christian ecclesiology 101" and the blatant violation of this key ecclesiological dogma by the Papacy in 1054 was as much a cause for the historical schism between East and West (really, between Rome and the rest of Christian world) as was the innovation of the filioque itself. ..."
"... His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch ..."
"... Some point out that the Patriarch of Constantinople is a Turkish civil servant. While technically true, this does not suggest that Erdogan is behind this move either: right now Erdogan badly needs Russia on so many levels that he gains nothing and risks losing a lot by alienating Moscow. ..."
"... No, the real initiator of this entire operation is the AngloZionist Empire and, of course, the Papacy (which has always tried to create an " Orthodoxerein Ukraine" from the "The Eastern Crusade" and "Northern Crusades" of Popes Innocent III and Gregory IX to the Nazi Ukraine of Bandera – see here for details). ..."
"... On a more cynical level, I would note that the Patriarch of Constantinople has now opened a real Pandora's box which now every separatist movement in an Orthodox country will be able to use to demand its own "autocephaly" which will threaten the unity of most Orthodox Churches out there. ..."
"... What the AngloZionist Empire has done is to force each Orthodox Christian and each Orthodox Church to chose between siding with Moscow or Constantinople. This choice will have obvious spiritual consequences, which the Empire couldn't give a damn about, but it will also profound political and social consequences which, I believe, the Empire entirely missed ..."
"... Make no mistake, what the Empire did in the Ukraine constitutes yet another profoundly evil and tragic blow against the long-suffering people of the Ukraine. In its ugliness and tragic consequences, it is quite comparable to the occupation of these lands by the Papacy via its Polish and Lithuanian agents. But God has the ability to turn even the worst horror into something which, in the end, will strengthen His Church. ..."
"... Another reason to hate the Catholic Church:The Catholic Church= Mike Pompeo mentored by Papal Advisor Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

In previous articles about this topic I have tried to set the context and explain why most Orthodox Churches are still used as pawns in purely political machinations and how the most commentators who discuss these issues today are using words and concepts in a totally twisted, secular and non-Christian way (which is about as absurd as discussing medicine while using a vague, misunderstood and generally non-medical terminology). I have also written articles trying to explain how the concept of "Church" is completely misunderstood nowadays and how many Orthodox Churches today have lost their original patristic mindset . Finally, I have tried to show the ancient spiritual roots of modern russophobia and how the AngloZionist Empire might try to save the Ukronazi regime in Kiev by triggering a religious crisis in the Ukraine . It is my hope that these articles will provide a useful context to evaluate and discuss the current crisis between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate.

My intention today is to look at the unfolding crisis from a more "modern" point of view and try to evaluate only what the political and social consequences of the latest developments might be in the short and mid term. I will begin by a short summary.

The current context: a summary

The Patriarchate of Constantinople has taken the official decision to:

Declare that the Patriarch of Constantinople has the right to unilaterally grant autocephaly (full independence) to any other Church with no consultations with any the other Orthodox Churches. Cancel the decision by the Patriarch of Constantinople Dionysios IV in 1686 transferring the Kiev Metropolia (religious jurisdiction overseen by a Metropolite) to the Moscow Patriarchate (a decision which no Patriarch of Constantinople contested for three centuries!) Lift the anathema pronounced against the "Patriarch" Filaret Denisenko by the Moscow Patriarchate (in spite of the fact that the only authority which can lift an anathema is the one which pronounced it in the first place) Recognize as legitimate the so-called "Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate" which it previously had declared as illegitimate and schismatic. Grant actual grand full autocephaly to a future (and yet to be defined) "united Ukrainian Orthodox Church"

Most people naturally focus on this last element, but this might be a mistake, because while illegally granting autocephaly to a mix of nationalist pseudo-Churches is most definitely a bad decision, to act like some kind of "Orthodox Pope" and claim rights which only belong to the entire Church is truly a historical mistake. Not only that, but this mistake now forces every Orthodox Christian to either accept this as a fait accompli and submit to the megalomania of the wannabe Ortho-Pope of the Phanar, or to reject such unilateral and totally illegal action or to enter into open opposition. And this is not the first time such a situation has happened in the history of the Church. I will use an historical parallel to make this point.

The historical context:

The Church of Rome and the rest of the Christian world were already on a collision course for several centuries before the famous date of 1054 when Rome broke away from the Christian world. Whereas for centuries Rome had been the most steadfast bastion of resistance against innovations and heresies, the influence of the Franks in the Church of Rome eventually resulted (after numerous zig-zags on this topic) in a truly disastrous decision to add a single world ( filioque - "and the son" in Latin) to the Symbol of Faith (the Credo in Latin). What made that decision even worse was the fact that the Pope of Rome also declared that he had the right to impose that addition upon all the other Christian Churches, with no conciliar discussion or approval. It is often said that the issue of the filioque is "obscure" and largely irrelevant, but that is just a reflection of the theological illiteracy of those making such statements as, in reality, the addition of the filioque completely overthrows the most crucial and important Trinitarian and Christological dogmas of Christianity. But what *is* true is that the attempt to unilaterally impose this heresy on the rest of the Christian world was at least as offensive and, really, as sacrilegious as the filioque itself because it undermined the very nature of the Church. Indeed, the Symbol of Faith defines the Church as "catholic" (Εἰς μίαν, Ἁγίαν, Καθολικὴν καὶ Ἀποστολικὴν Ἐκκλησίαν") meaning not only "universal" but also "whole" or "all-inclusive". In ecclesiological terms this "universality" is manifested in two crucial ways:

First, all Churches are equal, there is no Pope, no "historical see" granting any primacy just as all the Apostles of Christ and all Orthodox bishops are also equals; the Head of the Church is Christ Himself, and the Church is His Theadric Body filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh I know, to say that the Holy Spirit fills the Church is considered absolutely ridiculous in our 21 st century post-Christian world, but check out these words from the Book of Acts: " For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us " (Acts 15:28) which clearly show that the members of the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem clearly believed and proclaimed that their decisions were guided by the Holy Spirit. Anyone still believing that will immediately see why the Church needs no "vicar of Christ" or any "earthly representative" to act in Christ's name during His absence. In fact, Christ Himself clearly told us " lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen " (Matt 28:20). If a Church needs a "vicar" – then Christ and the Holy Spirit are clearly not present in that Church. QED.

Second, crucial decisions, decisions which affect the entire Church, are only taken by a Council of the entire Church, not unilaterally by any one man or any one Church.

These are really the basics of what could be called "traditional Christian ecclesiology 101" and the blatant violation of this key ecclesiological dogma by the Papacy in 1054 was as much a cause for the historical schism between East and West (really, between Rome and the rest of Christian world) as was the innovation of the filioque itself.

I hasten to add that while the Popes were the first ones to claim for themselves an authority only given to the full Church, they were not the only ones (by the way, this is a very good working definition of the term "Papacy": the attribution to one man of all the characteristics belonging solely to the entire Church). In the early 20 th century the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople, Albania, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, and Romania got together and, under the direct influence of powerful Masonic lodges, decided to adopt the Gregorian Papal Calendar (named after the 16 th century Pope Gregory XIII). The year was 1923, when the entire Russian Orthodox Church was being literally crucified on the modern Golgotha of the Bolshevik regime, but that did not prevent these Churches from calling their meeting "pan Orthodox". Neither did the fact that the Russian, Serbian, Georgian, Jerusalem Church and the Holy Mountain (aka " Mount Athos ") rejected this innovation stop them. As for the Papal Calendar itself, the innovators "piously" re-branded it as "improved Julian" and other such euphemism to conceal the real intention behind this.

Finally, even the fact that this decision also triggered a wave of divisions inside their own Churches was not cause for them to reconsider or, even less so, to repent. Professor C. Troitsky was absolutely correct when he wrote that " there is no doubt that future historians of the Orthodox Church will be forced to admit that the Congress of 1923 was the saddest event of Church life in the 20th century " (for more on this tragedy see here , here and here ). Here again, one man, Ecumenical Patriarch Meletius IV (Metaxakis) tried to "play Pope" and his actions resulted in a massive upheaval which ripped through the entire Orthodox world.

More recently, the Patriarch of Constantinople tried, once again, to convene what he would want to be an Orthodox "Ecumenical Council" under his personal authority when in 2016 (yet another) "pan Orthodox" council was convened on the island of Crete which was attended by the Churches of Alexandria , Jerusalem , Serbia , Romania , Cyprus , Greece, Poland , Albania and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia. The Churches of Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia and the USA (OCA) refused to attend. Most observers agreed that the Moscow Patriarchate played a key role in undermining what was clearly to be a "robber" council which would have introduced major (and fully non-Orthodox) innovations. The Patriarch of Constantinople never forgave the Russians for torpedoing his planned "ecumenical" council.

Some might have noticed that a majority of local Churches did attend both the 1923 and the 2016 wannabe "pan Orthodox" councils. Such an observation might be very important in a Latin or Protestant context, but in the Orthodox context is is absolutely meaningless for the following reasons:

The theological context:

In the history of the Church there have been many "robber" councils (meaning illegitimate, false, councils) which were attended by a majority of bishops of the time, and even a majority of the Churches; in this article I mentioned the life of Saint Maximos the Confessor (which you can read in full here ) as a perfect example of how one single person (not even a priest!) can defend true Christianity against what could appear at the time as the overwhelming number of bishops representing the entire Church. But, as always, these false bishops were eventually denounced and the Truth of Orthodoxy prevailed.

Likewise, at the False Union of Florence, when all the Greek delegates signed the union with the Latin heretics, and only one bishop refused to to do (Saint Mark of Ephesus), the Latin Pope declared in despair " and so we have accomplished nothing! ". He was absolutely correct – that union was rejected by the "Body" of the Church and the names of those apostates who signed it will remain in infamy forever. I could multiply the examples, but what is crucial here is to understand that majorities, large numbers or, even more so, the support of secular authorities are absolutely meaningless in Christian theology and in the history of the Church and that, with time, all the lapsed bishops who attended robber councils are always eventually denounced and the Orthodox truth always proclaimed once again. It is especially important to keep this in mind during times of persecution or of brutal interference by secular authorities because even when they *appear* to have won, their victory is always short-lived.

I would add that the Russian Orthodox Church is not just "one of the many" local Orthodox Churches. Not only is the Russian Orthodox Church by far the biggest Orthodox Church out there, but Moscow used to be the so-called "Third Rome", something which gives the Moscow Patriarchate a lot of prestige and, therefore, influence. In secular terms of prestige and "street cred" the fact that the Russians did not participate in the 1923 and 2016 congresses is much bigger a blow to its organizers than if, say, the Romanians had boycotted it. This might not be important to God or for truly pious Christians, but I assure you that this is absolutely crucial for the wannabe "Eastern Pope" of the Phanar

Who is really behind this latest attack on the Church?

So let's begin by stating the obvious: for all his lofty titles (" His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch " no less!), the Patriarch of Constantinople (well, of the Phanar, really), is nothing but a puppet in the hands of the AngloZionist Empire. An ambitious and vain puppet for sure, but a puppet nonetheless. To imagine that the Uber-loser Poroshenko would convince him to pick a major fight with the Moscow Patriarchate is absolutely laughable and totally ridiculous. Some point out that the Patriarch of Constantinople is a Turkish civil servant. While technically true, this does not suggest that Erdogan is behind this move either: right now Erdogan badly needs Russia on so many levels that he gains nothing and risks losing a lot by alienating Moscow.

No, the real initiator of this entire operation is the AngloZionist Empire and, of course, the Papacy (which has always tried to create an " Orthodoxerein Ukraine" from the "The Eastern Crusade" and "Northern Crusades" of Popes Innocent III and Gregory IX to the Nazi Ukraine of Bandera – see here for details).

Why would the Empire push for such a move? Here we can find a mix of petty and larger geostrategic reasons. First, the petty ones: they range from the usual impotent knee-jerk reflex to do something, anything, to hurt Russia to pleasing of the Ukronazi emigrés in the USA and Canada. The geostrategic ones range from trying to save the highly unpopular Ukronazi regime in Kiev to breaking up the Orthodox world thereby weakening Russian soft-power and influence. This type of "logic" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Orthodox world today. Here is why:

The typical level of religious education of Orthodox Christians is probably well represented by the famous Bell Curve: some are truly completely ignorant, most know a little, and a few know a lot. As long as things were reasonably peaceful, all these Orthodox Christians could go about their daily lives and not worry too much about the big picture. This is also true of many Orthodox Churches and bishops. Most folks like beautiful rites (singing, golden cupolas, beautiful architecture and historical places) mixed in with a little good old superstition (place a candle before a business meeting or playing the lottery) – such is human nature and, alas, most Orthodox Christians are no different, even if their calling is to be "not of this world". But now this apparently peaceful picture has been severely disrupted by the actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople whose actions are in such blatant and severe violation of all the basic canons and traditions of the Church that they literally force each Orthodox Christian, especially bishops, to break their silence and take a position: am I with Moscow or with Constantinople?

Oh sure, initially many (most?) Orthodox Christians, including many bishops, will either try to look away or limit themselves to vapid expressions of "regret" mixed in with calls for "unity". A good example of that kind of wishy washy lukewarm language can already be found here . But this kind of Pilate-like washing of hands ("ain't my business" in modern parlance) is unsustainable, and here is why: in Orthodox ecclesiology you cannot build "broken Eucharistic triangles". If A is not in communion with B, then C cannot be in communion with A and B at the same time. It's really an "either or" binary choice. At least in theory (in reality, such "broken triangles" have existed, most recently between the former ROCA/ROCOR, the Serbian Church and the Moscow Patriarchate, but they are unsustainable, as events of the 2000-2007 years confirmed for the ROCA/ROCOR). Still, no doubt that some (many?) will try to remain in communion with both the Moscow Patriarchate and the Constantinople Patriarchate, but this will become harder and harder with every passing month. In some specific cases, such a decision will be truly dramatic, I think of the monasteries on the Holy Mountain in particular.

On a more cynical level, I would note that the Patriarch of Constantinople has now opened a real Pandora's box which now every separatist movement in an Orthodox country will be able to use to demand its own "autocephaly" which will threaten the unity of most Orthodox Churches out there. If all it takes to become "autocephalous" is to trigger some kind of nationalist uprising, then just imagine how many "Churches" will demand the same autocephaly as the Ukronazis are today! The fact that ethno-phyetism is a condemned heresy will clearly stop none of them. After all, if it is good enough for the "Ecumenical" Patriarch, it sure is good enough for any and all pseudo-Orthodox nationalists!

What the AngloZionist Empire has done is to force each Orthodox Christian and each Orthodox Church to chose between siding with Moscow or Constantinople. This choice will have obvious spiritual consequences, which the Empire couldn't give a damn about, but it will also profound political and social consequences which, I believe, the Empire entirely missed .

The Moscow Patriarchate vs the Patriarchate of Constantinople – a sociological and political analysis

Let me be clear here that I am not going to compare and contrast the Moscow Patriarchate (MP) and the Patriarchate of Constantinople (PC) from a spiritual, theological or even ecclesiological point of view here. Instead, I will compare and contrast them from a purely sociological and political point of view. The differences here are truly profound.

Moscow Patriarchate Patriarchate of Constantinople
Actual size Very big Small
Financial means Very big Small
Dependence on the support of the Empire and its various entities Limited Total
Relations with the Vatican Limited, mostly due to very strongly
anti-Papist sentiments in the people
Mutual support
and de-facto alliance
Majority member's outlook Conservative Modernist
Majority member's level of support Strong Lukewarm
Majority member's concern with Church rules/cannons/traditions Medium and selective Low
Internal dissent Practically eliminated (ROCA) Strong (Holy Mountain, Old Calendarists)

From the above table you can immediately see that the sole comparative 'advantage' of the PC is that is has the full support of the AngloZionist Empire and the Vatican. On all the other measures of power, the MP vastly "out-guns" the PC.

Now, inside the Ukronazi occupied Ukraine, that support of the Empire and the Vatican (via their Uniats) does indeed give a huge advantage to the PC and its Ukronazi pseudo-Orthodox "Churches". And while Poroshenko has promised that no violence will be used against the MP parishes in the Ukraine, we all remember that he was the one who promised to stop the war against the Donbass, so why even pay attention to what he has to say.

US diplomats and analysts might be ignorant enough to believe Poroshenko's promises, but if that is the case then they are failing to realize that Poroshensko has very little control over the hardcore Nazi mobs like the one we saw last Sunday in Kiev . The reality is very different: Poroshenko's relationship to the hardcore Nazis in the Ukraine is roughly similar to the one the House of Saud has with the various al-Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arabia: they try to both appease and control them, but they end up failing every time. The political agenda in the Ukraine is set by bona fide Nazis, just as it is set in the KSA by the various al-Qaeda types. Poroshenko and MBS are just impotent dwarfs trying to ride on the shoulders of much more powerful devils.

Sadly, and as always, the ones most at risk right now are the simple faithful who will resist any attempts by the Ukronazi death-squads to seize their churches and expel their priests. I don't expect a civil war to ensue, not in the usual sense of the world, but I do expect a lot of atrocities similar to what took place during the 2014 Odessa massacre when the Ukronazis burned people alive (and shot those trying to escape). Once these massacres begin, it will be very, very hard for the Empire to whitewash them or blame it all on "Russian interference". But most crucially, as the (admittedly controversial) Christian writer Tertullian noticed as far back as the 2 nd century " the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church ". You can be sure that the massacre of innocent Christians in the Ukraine will result in a strengthening of the Orthodox awareness, not only inside the Ukraine, but also in the rest of the world, especially among those who are currently "on the fence" so to speak, between the kind of conservative Orthodoxy proclaimed by the MP and the kind of lukewarm wishy washy "decaf" pseudo-Orthodoxy embodied by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. After all, it is one thing to change the Church Calendar or give hugs and kisses to Popes and quite another to bless Nazi death-squads to persecute Orthodox Christians.

To summarize I would say that by his actions, the Patriarch of Constantinople is now forcing the entire Orthodox world to make a choice between two very different kind of "Orthodoxies". As for the Empire, it is committing a major mistake by creating a situation which will further polarize strongly, an already volatile political situation in the Ukraine.

There is, at least potentially, one more possible consequence from these developments which is almost never discussed: its impact inside the Moscow Patriarchate.

Possible impact of these developments inside the Moscow Patriarchate

Without going into details, I will just say that the Moscow Patriarchate is a very diverse entity in which rather different "currents" coexist. In Russian politics I often speak of Atlantic Integrationists and Eurasian Sovereignists. There is something vaguely similar inside the MP, but I would use different terms. One camp is what I would call the "pro-Western Ecumenists" and the other camp the "anti-Western Conservatives". Ever since Putin came to power the pro-Western Ecumenists have been losing their influence, mostly due to the fact that the majority of the regular rank and file members of the MP are firmly behind the anti-Western Conservative movement (bishops, priests, theologians).

The rabid hatred and fear of everything Russian by the West combined with the total support for anything anti-Russian (including Takfiris and Nazis) has had it's impact here too, and very few people in Russia want the civilizational model of Conchita Wurst, John McCain or Pope Francis to influence the future of Russia. The word "ecumenism" has, like the word "democracy", become a four letter word in Russia with a meaning roughly similar to "sellout" or "prostitution". What is interesting is that many bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate who, in the past, were torn between the conservative pressure from their own flock and their own "ecumenical" and "democratic" inclinations (best embodied by the Patriarch of Constantinople) have now made a choice for the conservative model (beginning by Patriarch Kirill himself who, in the past, used to be quite favorable to the so-called "ecumenical dialog of love" with the Latins).

Now that the MP and the PC have broken the ties which previously united them, they are both free to pursue their natural inclinations, so to speak. The PC can become some kind of "Eastern Rite Papacy" and bask in an unhindered love fest with the Empire and the Vatican while the MP will now have almost no incentive whatsoever to pay attention to future offers of rapprochement by the Empire or the Vatican (these two always work hand in hand ). For Russia, this is a very good development.

Make no mistake, what the Empire did in the Ukraine constitutes yet another profoundly evil and tragic blow against the long-suffering people of the Ukraine. In its ugliness and tragic consequences, it is quite comparable to the occupation of these lands by the Papacy via its Polish and Lithuanian agents. But God has the ability to turn even the worst horror into something which, in the end, will strengthen His Church.

Russia in general, and the Moscow Patriarchate specifically, are very much in a transition phase on many levels and we cannot overestimate the impact which the West's hostility on all fronts, including spiritual ones, will have on the future consciousness of the Russian and Orthodox people. The 1990s were years of total confusion and ignorance, not only for Russia by the way, but the first decade of the new millennium has turned out to be a most painful, but also most needed, eye-opener for those who had naively trusted the notion that the West's enemy was only Communism, not Russia as a civilizational model.

In their infinite ignorance and stupidity, the leaders of the Empire have always acted only in the immediate short term and they never bothered to think about the mid to long term effects of their actions. This is as true for Russia as it is for Iraq or the Balkans. When things eventually, and inevitably, go very wrong, they will be sincerely baffled and wonder how and why it all went wrong. In the end, as always, they will blame the "other guy".

There is no doubt in my mind that the latest maneuver of the AngloZionist Empire in the Ukraine will yield some kind of feel-good and short term "victory" ("peremoga" in Ukrainian) which will be followed by a humiliating defeat ("zrada" in Ukrainian) which will have profound consequences for many decades to come and which will deeply reshape the current Orthodox world. In theory, these kinds of operations are supposed to implement the ancient principle of "divide and rule", but in the modern world what they really do is to further unite the Russian people against the Empire and, God willing, will unite the Orthodox people against pseudo-Orthodox bishops.

Conclusion:

In this analysis I have had to describe a lot of, shall we say, "less than inspiring" realities about the Orthodox Church and I don't want to give the impression that the Church of Christ is as clueless and impotent as all those denominations, which, over the centuries have fallen away from the Church. Yes, our times are difficult and tragic, but the Church has not lost her "salt". So what I want to do in lieu of a personal conclusion is to quote one of the most enlightened and distinguished theologians of our time, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos , who in his book "<A title="https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Orthodox-Church-Hierotheos/dp/9607070399/" onclick="trackOutboundLink('https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Orthodox-Church-Hierotheos/dp/9607070399/?tag=unco037-20');" href="https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Orthodox-Church-Hierotheos/dp/9607070399/?tag=unco037-20" '="">The Mind of the Orthodox Church" (which I consider one of the best books available in English about the Orthodox Church and a "must read" for anybody interested in Orthodox ecclesiology) wrote the following words:

Saint Maximos the Confessor says that, while Christians are divided into categories according to age and race, nationalities, languages, places and ways of life, studies and characteristics, and are "distinct from one another and vastly different, all being born into the Church and reborn and recreated through it in the Spirit" nevertheless "it bestows equally on all the gift of one divine form and designation, to be Christ's and to bear His Name. And Saint Basil the Great, referring to the unity of the Church says characteristically: "The Church of Christ is one, even tough He is called upon from different places". These passages, and especially the life of the Church, do away with every nationalistic tendency. It is not, of course, nations and homelands that are abolished, but nationalism, which is a heresy and a great danger to the Church of Christ.

Metropolitan Hierotheos is absolutely correct. Nationalism, which itself is a pure product of West European secularism, is one of the most dangerous threats facing the Church today. During the 20 th century it has already cost the lives of millions of pious and faithful Christians (having said that, this in no way implies that the kind of suicidal multiculturalism advocated by the degenerate leaders of the AngloZionist Empire today is any better!). And this is hardly a "Ukrainian" problem (the Moscow Patriarchate is also deeply infected by the deadly virus of nationalism). Nationalism and ethno-phyletism are hardly worse than such heresies as Iconoclasm or Monophysitism/Monothelitism were in the past and those were eventually defeated. Like all heresies, nationalism will never prevail against the " Church of the living God " which is the " the pillar and ground of the truth " (1 Tim 3:15) and while many may lapse, others never will.

In the meantime, the next couple of months will be absolutely crucial. Right now it appears to me that the majority of the Orthodox Churches will first try to remain neutral but will have to eventually side with the Moscow Patriarchate and against the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew. Ironically, the situation inside the USA will most likely be particularly chaotic as the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA have divided loyalties and are often split along conservative vs modernizing lines. The other place to keep a close eye on will be the monasteries on the Holy Mountain were I expect a major crisis and confrontation to erupt.

With the crisis in the Ukraine the heresy of nationalism has reached a new level of infamy and there will most certainly be a very strong reaction to it. The Empire clearly has no idea what kind of dynamic it has now set in motion.


Sai Baba Sufi , says: October 19, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT

Same problem with Muslim Ummah. Are we Persian Muslims/Turkish Muslims/Malay Muslims/Arab Muslims/Kazakh Muslims or just Muslims as One entity?

Accepting The "One" means dilution of the "Many" and accepting the "many" means dilution of the "one". Man can never escape dialectics or at least strike a right balance except by the grace of God.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 19, 2018 at 10:58 am GMT
Religion is opium for masses. Whom Sacker is kidding? Those попы care for nothing but power , influence and money. Church as a whole has nothing to do with highest power if that power is actually exist. They are mere humans who pull the wool in front of people's eyes. They are also anything but austere. Check Patriarch Kirill watches and cars. They do not need Empire to start bikering among themselves for said power and money.
Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website October 19, 2018 at 11:07 am GMT
Nationalism, which itself is a pure product of West European secularism, is one of the most dangerous threats facing the Church today

On the other hand, Christianity, a product of effete idealism, is one of the most dangerous threats to the survival of the West. Christianity works hand-in-glove with our stinking governments, providing the moral and spiritual authority for the mass immigration and Islamization which are destroying Western nations. Christianity could have allied itself with the people but it chose, instead, to betray us. It is the enemy of the white race. To the Church, nationalism is a threat. To whites, nationalism is our saviour.

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: October 19, 2018 at 12:33 pm GMT
Ultimately the cause of this split of the Orthodox Church is Satan. And of course Satan's loyal servants running the AngloZionist Empire. Catholic writer E. Michael Jones does a great job explaining the real forces at play in the modern world (in his books and talks- see video below).

Btw, to all the pagan atheist commenters, take a bow. The oligarchs of the AngloZionist Empire applaud you. They need you useful idiots to further destroy and divide Christian civilization. You've swallowed their Darwinian atheistic bullshit hook, line & sinker. https://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Fables-Darwinism-Materialism-other/dp/1980698627/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1539952267&sr=8-7&keywords=E+Michael+jones

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: October 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm GMT
More E. Michael Jones. Good stuff.
War for Blair Mountain , says: October 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm GMT
The Catholic Pope is obviously a filthy, stinking, homosexual pig-as are his Cardinals. I was born and raised Irish Catholic. Catholic Schools all the way. The Protestant Churches no better. Deep South Evangelical Christianity is a Cargo Cult that worships a Jewish State.
Giuseppe , says: October 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT

As for the Papal Calendar itself, the innovators "piously" re-branded it as "improved Julian" and other such euphemism to conceal the real intention behind this.

Russia finally changed to use of the Julian calendar to be in line with the European practice (alas, too late) just as Europe was changing from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. If the ROC places such importance on the calendar, why won't it revert to following the calendar in use prior to Peter I's reforms of 1700, the year he forced the Julian calendar on Russia (with not even one full month's notice)?

War for Blair Mountain , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
Another reason to hate the Catholic Church:The Catholic Church= Mike Pompeo mentored by Papal Advisor Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon .

Pompeo the Cockroach .as it .(Mike Pompeo is an it, as is that other well known BLATARIA .Hillary Clinton) .is known to the residents of Satan's filthy stinking reeking toilet bowl waaaaaaaaay down in putrid HELL!!!!!!!

Don't mind the split infinitive they are really quite alright .only a girly boy grammar NAZI!!! would shriek about it ..

nickels , says: October 19, 2018 at 4:27 pm GMT
Guitar masses in Cathedral of Christ the Saviour or bust.

On another note, while the historical claim to Ukraine by Moscow is not really at questions, the Ukrainians certainly had cause to turn to Germany in WWII, given that the alternative was the Reds. Their side of this tale is always painted as neo-facism, which their actions in 2014 certainly did not help, but I do have to wonder about their story in this tale, independent of their horrific and despicable Western backers.

fitzhamilton , says: October 19, 2018 at 5:06 pm GMT
@Johnny Rottenborough Yeah. It's amazing how the West has survived almost two millennia of Christian domination. How did those effete Christians manage to convert the heathen tribes, turn back the Muslims, then colonize and convert over half the world? How did modern science and technology arise and evolve to such heights in a Christian context? Christians are such pansies, it's odd that so many of them have so many children.. How do they manage to prosper and survive? Inexplicable.
Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website October 19, 2018 at 5:35 pm GMT
@fitzhamilton fitzhamilton -- Yesterday's achievements are undeniable. Equally, today's betrayal is undeniable. At some point during the last century, Christianity turned against the white race.
FB , says: October 19, 2018 at 7:13 pm GMT
Wow what an amazing article the detail that Saker brings to this subject is breathtaking. I had to scramble for the dictionary to find out that 'Phyletism' or 'ethnophyletism' [from the Greek ethnos 'nation' and phyletismos 'tribalism'] is the conflation between Church and nation [sounds bad...]

'Monophysitism' the apparently wrong belief among some that 'Christ' has a single [mono] nature as opposed to the 'correct' interpretation of his divine and human duality [again, very bad...]

So I heaved a sigh of relief when the author noted that these and other heresies [such as iconoclasm...ie the breaking of icons] were eventually 'defeated' [WHEW]

And who could forget the Battle of the Calendars

'In the early 20th century the Orthodox Churches of Constantinople, Albania, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, and Romania got together and, under the direct influence of powerful Masonic lodges, decided to adopt the Gregorian Papal Calendar (named after the 16th century Pope Gregory XIII).

I'm sure the Saker will be relieved to know that despite this temporary setback, the Julian Calendar [after Julius Ceasar] did eventually prevail as well being today the universal calendar of astronomy, science, the military, and software coding heck even GPS uses it see the Julian Day

[Once again, the forces of the Redeemer prevail]

And then of course we have the centuries of intrigue and betrayals all those treacherous 'robber councils' etc it is perhaps worth mentioning also the original such apostolic act of denial, and eventually repentance that of St Peter

All's well that ends well

A. -H. , says: October 20, 2018 at 2:11 am GMT

First, the petty ones: they range from the usual impotent knee-jerk reflex to do something, anything, to hurt Russia to pleasing of the Ukronazi emigrés in the USA and Canada.

That is true.

Canada : Celebrating Nazis Is Wrong. Period.

"On Sunday, April 22, on the eve of the G7 Summit in Toronto, Freeland hosted a brunch in her private home. In attendance that day were all the Foreign Ministers from the G7 countries, with a plus one in the form of Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine. No, Ukraine is definitely not a member of the G7, but Freeland wanted Klimkin front and center to make sure he put the ongoing crisis in Ukraine at the top of the G7 Summit agenda.

That's all well and good, as a lit powder keg such as Ukraine in the middle of Europe, polarized between NATO and nuclear-armed Russia is certainly a global concern. Freeland has also never denied the fact that she is proud of her Ukrainian-Canadian roots."

"Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee told the Times of Israel that this Nazi parade was "a scandalous event that should not be allowed to happen in Ukraine in which murderers of Jews and others are glorified."

Andrew Srulevitch, director of European Affairs at the Anti-Defamation league wrote on Twitter, "Ukrainian leaders need to condemn such marches, where Ukrainian extremists celebrate Ukrainian Nazi SS divisions (1st Galician), giving Nazi salutes in uniform in the middle of a major Ukrainian city."

http://espritdecorps.ca/on-target-4/celebrating-nazis-is-wrong-period

FB , says: October 20, 2018 at 4:39 am GMT
@MeMyselfandI You must be new here our Potatohead Pete is still trying to figure out what day it is
Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: October 20, 2018 at 5:20 am GMT
@RadicalCenter

"Little bitch for the devil" would seem to describe Catholic priests these days, not ol' WBM.

Haha, you're so adorable. Such a loyal hasbara of the Christ-hating oligarchs pushing the anti-Catholic bullshit narrative. Prof. Philip Jenkins/Baylor U./John Jay College/et al. have done all kind of studies and analysis and have shown that the rates of sexual predation/predators is proportionally lower among Catholic clergy than in public education and even among Protestant denominations. But since these entities are loyal to the oligarchs and the AngloZionist Empire you'll never see them targeted with this kind of bullshit propaganda. Not that that matters to you, RadicalCenter. Now go off and post shit about how Assad is a monster who gasses his own people and the U.S. is in Syria only to fight ISIS.

Felix Keverich , says: October 20, 2018 at 8:26 am GMT
I'm from Russia and here is my prediction: there will be no "religious conflict" in the Ukraine. Instead, churches belonging to ROC will be one by one expropriated by Ukrainian regime. The locals are powerless bydlo , and will do as they are told. They would embrace Satanic church, if this is what the authorities told them to. Authority in the Ukraine is derived from violence, not faith.
SeekerofthePresence , says: October 20, 2018 at 7:23 pm GMT
Somebody(s) in the State Dept, CIA, MI6, Mossad got to Bartholomew. Ultimate object in splitting Ukraine Church is to divide the country and bring it or most of it into NATO. This scheme is so diabolical as to be the work of Antichrist. Natoization of Ukraine could easily result in WWIII. God have mercy on us all. Спаси и сохрани.
Sarah Toga , says: October 21, 2018 at 12:34 am GMT
Interesting article – vital information! Can anyone possibly imagine the MSM or even so-called conservative outlets giving any degree of clear discussion of what is happening in the Orthodox Church? Personally, I think the real issue among denominations is learning and understanding the Biblical languages, translating to the modern tongues. The over-use of Latin (instead of Greek, Hebrew) led the Bishops of Rome to some regrettable mis-steps.

For Western Christians who care about the Holy Word, this site is encouraging for Christians who are disgusted with the cucks and diversity cultists taking over their denominations (i.e., Russell Moore in the SBC, etc): Faith and Heritage dot com

Wally , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:26 am GMT
@A. -H. LOL
This is how lying Jews & their neo-Marxist shills try to win all arguments. said: "Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee told the Times of Israel that this Nazi parade was "a scandalous event that should not be allowed to happen in Ukraine in which murderers of Jews and others are glorified." Andrew Srulevitch, director of European Affairs at the Anti-Defamation league wrote on Twitter, "Ukrainian leaders need to condemn such marches, where Ukrainian extremists celebrate Ukrainian Nazi SS divisions (1st Galician), giving Nazi salutes in uniform in the middle of a major Ukrainian city." "

... ... ...

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:47 am GMT
" most Orthodox Churches are still used as pawns in purely political machinations "

Who is the pawn of whom is open for discussion. When reading these words I remember seeing Putin in an orthodox church, in a ceremony showing his respect for the church, not looking very happy. Religions have tremendous impacts, as we saw in 1979, when the Islam was able to drive away the USA's puppet shah from Iran. The USA is still fighting the consequences.

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:53 am GMT
@fitzhamilton See the explanation in Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 'Civilisations', London, 2000 And no relation with christianity.
jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:56 am GMT
@A. -H. " as a lit powder keg such as Ukraine in the middle of Europe, polarized between NATO and nuclear-armed Russia "
Deliberately created by the EU, with NATO support, I suppose. Redundant organizations seek new goals.
Jeff Stryker , says: October 21, 2018 at 10:47 am GMT
@jilles dykstra They rang Putin up and asked if he could please invade Ukraine to give them an excuse for tax payers. Weirdly enough, Ukraine was Clinton's obsession and not Trump's. She became particularly obsessed with Russians, for some reason, following the election.
Epigon , says: October 21, 2018 at 11:31 am GMT
@byrresheim If Russians are to be blamed for Holodomor, who is to be blamed for Red Terror and 1921-1922 Russia famine, which was worse than Holodomor?
Anon [132] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 11:49 am GMT
@Seraphim Christianity is universalist/globalist according to the L' Internationale Jew who started it.

• Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . Matthew 28:19
• Proclaimed in his name to all nations . Luke 24:47
• For Jewgod so loved the whole universe [kosmos] that the universe [kosmos] might be saved through Jewgod. John 3:16-17

Tribalism is close-family nationalism. Natal, the root word of nation, means related by birth. If you're against people liking to associate politically their birth-related kin, you're bellyaching at the wrong website.

jacques sheete , says: October 21, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Those попы care for nothing but power , influence and money.

Funny how people get all bound up in arcana when that's really what's always going on.

Anonymous [365] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 1:13 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain You ask, "Why does the Working Class Native Born White American population of the American South worship Israel and Jews in general?"

Because the book they're carrying into church today and pounding into their kids' heads states:

• John 4:22 " We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews ."
• Acts 3:25 "He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.'"
• Romans 1:16 "The Jew first."
• Romans 9:4 "The people of Israel, chosen."
• Romans 15:27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings."
• Philippians 3:3 "For it is we [Christians] who are the Circumcision."
• Philippians 3:20 "But our citizenship is in Jewheaven." (which is the Israeli capital city Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2)

Yet some of these Jew-worhipers still have the chutzpah to allege that "there is no "Judeo-Christianity," apparently because the exact terminology judeo-christian isn't found in the Jew Testament. Believing that only a Jewish Rabbi can save a white man from being a bad, bad boy worthy of a roasting in hell by a Jewgod has consequences.

Jeff Stryker , says: October 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm GMT
@jacques sheete Islam would have spread to Europe if Christianity had not been around.
Robjil , says: October 21, 2018 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker Nuland is the one who rang up and asked if the US could please invade Ukraine with Banderite genocidal crazies. Nuland's taking of Ukraine with a few bags of cookies was the greatest bargain since the Native Americans sold Manhattan for trinkets, worth 24$, to Dutch. A few decades later, the Dutch themselves made a huge mistake by giving away New York to the British.

Here is the video of Ms. Nuland's call, that may lead to WIII. Is she a new Helen of Troy that launched a thousand ships. She also states the lovely phrase F ** k the EU at the end of the coup talk. Lovely century we live in. Where is the peace and love that we were promised in 1960s, 1970s?

Abdul Alhazred , says: October 21, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
Unfortunately Saker's attack upon the Filioque plays right into the hands of the oligarchy's drive to destroy mankind by denying man's abilities and potential as a being made in the image of God.

It is Lyndon LaRouche and associates who correctly identify the Filioque as essential in the flowering of the Renaissance and the rise of the Nation-State, of that Platonic Christian Republican revival based upon the dignity of humanity.

Here is a short on the Filioque Doctrine:

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1990/eirv17n40-19901019/eirv17n40-19901019_032-the_filioque_doctrine.pdf

A book review on why the Eastern Churches deny the Filioque, to which the question might be asked- Is the Saker an adherent to the Moscow as the Third Rome prophecy?

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1983/eirv10n36-19830920/eirv10n36-19830920_049-why_the_eastern_rites_reject_the.pdf

The following essay situates the Filioque as relevant to the defense of Christianity, of Western Civilization in struggles similar to what we are experiencing today, as basically the same operations are being run.

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1990/eirv17n40-19901019/eirv17n40-19901019_030-black_legend_hides_the_truth_abo.pdf

Anon [132] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 5:54 pm GMT

Metropolitan Hierotheos is absolutely correct. Nationalism, which itself is a pure product of West European secularism,

Its not. Christianity is't even 2,000 year old, and has as its core a foreign mythology (hence its gravity toward anti-nationalism). Nationalism is as old as civilization.

is one of the most dangerous threats facing the Church today.

So? Who said that the Church takes precedent over civilization and tribe? Who says that is the greater good?

From where I sit, our nations are now moral and demographic hellholes and the Church played no small role in opening the door to that situation. Where is the Church's evidence of a net good outcome?

If the Church wanted to assure its survival, then it needed to facilitate holiness on Earth via promulgation of a morality that successfully defended that state of man.

At the moment, we have the opposite of that and that isn't because we didn't or don't have enough Church. The pre-Christians would have never allowed things to progress to this state out of spiritual pressure to be weak in the face of those who hate us and are incompatible with civilization.That path was the path of the Church.

During the 20th century it has already cost the lives of millions of pious and faithful Christians

Okay, Jew-commie apologist. Laying the results of the 20th century on those that rose to defend the world from who you cite below both insults the intelligence of your readers and reduces the integrity of your total argument.

(having said that, this in no way implies that the kind of suicidal multiculturalism advocated by the degenerate leaders of the AngloZionist Empire today is any better!).

You will have one or the other. No middle ground is possible. If you say its possible and reduce nationalism but fail to defend against the communists, then you are their tool. Also, I don't see any visible Anglo power. Only Jewish power.

And this is hardly a "Ukrainian" problem (the Moscow Patriarchate is also deeply infected by the deadly virus of nationalism).

You've yet to describe how nationalism is a deadly virus. In response to my claim, I suspect another round of vague logic and accusations that omit history.

Like all heresies, nationalism will never prevail against the "Church of the living God"

It seems misplaced for the Church to outlaw a specific political stance when it provides no defense against (and even facilitates) its antipode. If the church involves itself in life and death politics, then it must accept the consequences. Period. It would better serve God and the nations by remaining neutral. That it has not done that, an fights more zealously against nationalism, reveals its actual use.

Second, you have no idea what the words mean that you use. You put on the air of a knowledgeable armchair theologian, but have restricted yourself to Christian dogma and myth that has always used occluded language. You have no idea what the phrase "living God" means. You take florid sounding language and use it as a rhetorical device. What I know about the "living god" is that he dies as a matter of course. This occurs after his maturity. You will see this again, the unholy growth will stop, and holiness will return to the world.

which is the "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15) and while many may lapse, others never will.

"Never" isn't an oft used concept in Christianity. In fact, the Bible is a tale of cycles. While your current political ideology is moral and spiritual poison, perhaps you can be saved and so I'm kindly warning you to be prepared for them.

Cyrano , says: October 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT
Whoever said that religion is opium for the masses was onto something. Although, the Ukrainians looked intoxicated even without this latest controversy over religion. They believe that the west is in love with them. Let me clear something for them: The west (its elites) are not in the business of love. They are in the business of using people. The western elites don't love even their own people, let alone the Ukrainians.

This is the current school of "thought" of the western elites: To love your own kind is racist. To pretend to love every other kind is pinnacle of humanism. Or as I like to call it – degeneracy.

The truth is, the western elites don't love anybody except themselves They are just too stupid to realize that they are unsustainable by themselves. If they destroy their base of people like them – they are done. All their money wouldn't be able to buy them a ticket on the newest Elon Musk rocket headed to another inhabitable planet and away from the wretched earth that they in their stupidity destroyed.

Anon [260] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 9:38 pm GMT
@Art That's a flowery synopsis of Christianity that, while popular among Jew-worshipers, doesn't square with what the Jewsus character actually said.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

Ludgwig von Mises summed up Christianity much more accurately.

[Jesus] rejects everything that exists without offering anything to replace it. He arrives at dissolving all existing social ties . The motive force behind the purity and power of this complete negation is ecstatic inspiration and enthusiastic hope of a new world. Hence his passionate attack upon everything that exists. Everything may be destroyed because God in His omnipotence will rebuild the future order . The clearest modern parallel to the attitude of complete negation of primitive Christianity is Bolshevism. The Bolshevists, too, wish to destroy everything that exists because they regard it as hopelessly bad.

(Socialism, p. 413)

Think Peace? You got Jesus wrong, and he explicitly stated so.


[Oct 21, 2018] The Istanbul Patriarch Plays at Pope and Falls Under Anathema

Notable quotes:
"... Karlin points out, as did Zhirinovsky the other day in the state Duma, that if carried out, then this illegal revocation of the Synodal letter of 1686, which granted the Patriarch of Moscow the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, could only lead to the autocephaly of those seven eparchies that were under Kiev church jurisdiction before 1686, namely those of Kiev, Chernigov, Lutsk, Lvov, Przemysl, Polotsk, and Mogilev, all situated in what is now west and central Ukraine, parts of Poland and Belorussia. ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile October 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Anatoly Karlin in today's RI on the Patriarch of Constantinople:

The Istanbul Patriarch Plays at Pope and Falls Under Anathema
"Now is the perfect time for Russia to reemerge as the Third Rome and take leadership of Orthodox Christendom"

Comparing the power relationship of the Roman Pope at the time of the 1054 Great Schism between the Western and Eastern (Orthodox) churches with the power relationship that exists now between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Patriarch of the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church in Moscow, Karlin writes:

As quasi-monarch of the European core, who could command European kings to crawl to him on their knees in penance, the Pope [in 1054] could afford to forget the "pares" part of "primus inter pares". In contrast, Bartholomew I – His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, not to mention reserve officer in the Turkish Army – is ensconced in an infidel country and presides over a local flock of a few hundred ageing Greeks This is something that Bartholomew I has patently ignored with his disastrous decision to enter communion with Ukrainian schismatics.

Karlin points out, as did Zhirinovsky the other day in the state Duma, that if carried out, then this illegal revocation of the Synodal letter of 1686, which granted the Patriarch of Moscow the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, could only lead to the autocephaly of those seven eparchies that were under Kiev church jurisdiction before 1686, namely those of Kiev, Chernigov, Lutsk, Lvov, Przemysl, Polotsk, and Mogilev, all situated in what is now west and central Ukraine, parts of Poland and Belorussia.

Kiev church jurisdiction would then not apply to Kharkov, which in 1685 was within the Russian Empire, as was the then Novorossiya.

Karlin ponts out that if the Constantinople revocation goes through, then the Patriarch of Constantinople would have just as many rights over the bulk of what is now eastern Ukraine as he has over the Eastern Orthodox Church in Vladivostok – namely none!


Bartholomew I – not in his Turkish army officer uniform!


Valtsman greets Bartholomew


Bartholomew with his pal Joe in Istanbul

The shit hit the Orthodox fan when Bartholomew bestowed upon kiddie-fondler Biden the highest award bestowed by the Greek Orthodox Church, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award.

Biden is a pro-abortionist, pro-sterilization and "gay" rights campaigner. He also professes to be a Roman Catholic.

Moscow Exile October 18, 2018 at 10:38 pm
re. the above linked RI Karlin article, I think Anatoly must have had an attack of the typos, as often happens to me, when writing this paragraph:

It would be an exceedingly sad and ignominious end to see the lingering remnant of a glorious empire do give in to blackmail and foreign pressure. We can only hope that God will not punish them as severely as for the Council of Florence ,

which, I daresay, should have read as follows:

It would be an exceedingly sad and ignominious end to see the lingering remnant of a glorious empire give in to blackmail and foreign pressure. We can only hope that God will not punish them as severely as did the Council of Florence.

The "glorious empire" that he refers to is Byzantium.

As regards the Council of Florence, which took place when Europe was under severe threat from the Ottoman Empire, Byzantium and its capital Constantinople, the "City of Caesar" (aka Царьград [Tsar'grad] in Russian -- "City of Caesar"), then being the remnant of the Eastern Roman empire and situated at the immediate receiving end of said threat, and when reunification of the Eastern and Western churches was mooted so as to help face the Ottoman onslaught :

The Council had meanwhile successfully negotiated reunification with several Eastern Churches, reaching agreements on such matters as the Western insertion of the phrase "Filioque" to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed ["and of the son": the Nicene Creed, in using this term, implied that the "Holy Ghost" came from the "Father (and the Son)", which, of course, is anathema to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, because they are all the same, three-in-one, aren't they, and which phrasing immediately led to the Great Schism:

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem:
qui ex Patre ⟨Filioque⟩ procedit
Qui cum Patre, et Filio simul adoratur, et cum glorificatur.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceedeth from the Father ⟨and the Son⟩.
Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified.

ME, ] the definition and number of the sacraments, and the doctrine of Purgatory.

Another key issue was papal primacy, which involved the universal and supreme jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church, including the national Churches of the East (Serbian, Greek, Moldo-Wallachian, Bulgarian, Russian, Georgian, Armenian etc.) and nonreligious matters such as the promise of military assistance against the Ottomans.

The final decree of union was a signed document called the Laetentur Caeli, "Let the Heavens Rejoice".

Some bishops, perhaps feeling political pressure from the Byzantine Emperor, accepted the decrees of the Council and reluctantly signed. Others did so by sincere conviction, such as Isidore of Kiev, who subsequently suffered greatly for it. Only one Eastern Bishop, Mark of Ephesus, refused to accept the union and became the leader of opposition back in Byzantium.

The Russians, upon learning of the union, angrily rejected it and ousted any prelate who was even remotely sympathetic to it, declaring the Russian Orthodox Church as autocephalus (i.e., as having its "own head").

Despite the religious union, Western military assistance to Byzantium was ultimately insufficient, and the fall of Constantinople occurred in May 1453 -- Wiki .

Non of this arsing around about the gods and their pecking order in Asgard, of course, where Woden is the boss and Thor came from Mrs. Woden (Frige in Old English) after old Woden had humped her. There were other godly Woden offspring as well, and other lesser gods.

Waes hael!

🙂

Moscow Exile October 18, 2018 at 11:19 pm
Another of Bart's pals pays him a visit:

FFS!!!

yalensis October 19, 2018 at 7:51 am
Karlin's article about the autocephaly is admittedly good. But every time I link to RI I feel like I have to take a shower afterwards. What a piece of work it is (along with Unz), cesspools of Jew-hating and Red-baiting. Not to mention the usual claque of holocaust-deniers and neo-Nazis.
Moscow Exile October 19, 2018 at 9:06 am
I feel the same way. I am trying my best to avoid it but I regularly have a snoop to see if there is anything worthwile there and I think Karlin's piece on the wheelings and dealings as regards the Constantinople patriarch are interesting.
Mark Chapman October 19, 2018 at 9:51 am
But who's the overall winner? The west, overwhelmingly Christian and rubbing its hands in enjoyment of the writhing and quarreling among the Orthodoxy, and the deepening of the rift between Russia and Ukraine.
Patient Observer October 19, 2018 at 3:13 pm
Many doubt that the West is Christian, much less overwhelmingly. But, yes, whatever they are, they may well be rubbing their hands in glee for the moment.
kirill October 19, 2018 at 3:36 pm
No friends is better than bad friends. Let Ukrstan wallow in pig shit. Given the history of the last 1000 years, it will reach total dissolution at one point.
Moscow Exile October 20, 2018 at 2:48 am
But the Ukraine has always had religious dissent between east and west, Uniate and Eastern Orthodox, ever since that time when the seeds of Ukrainian nationalism were planted by the Roman Catholic Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century, when Austria was scared shitless of Russian imperial expansion westwards into the vacuum then being created by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, into teritories that k.u.k Austria deemed to be its own patch.

The situation was not helped in any way post-WWII by the UkSSR having "Polish" Ukrainians (Galitsians, mostly) tagged onto what Svidomites believe to be that territory that is the direct descendant of "Kievan" Rus'.

And in the 17th/18th centuries, when what is now that part of the Ukraine situated mostly west of the Dnepr was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Eastern Orthodox Church was given a hard time by the Catholic authorities and serious attempts were made to persuade Orthodox Christians to "Latinize".

"Uniate" Yukies are raised to hate the Moskali Orthodox Church and its faithful. I know: I've met such "Uniates", even sat at the same table with them when on holiday in the former UkSSR. They suck-holed up to me because they thought I was a typically English wanker that supports them. The same happens to me regularly here with Rubberduckians (some of my son's pals are such) and Kreakly .

I know a Ukrainian woman doctor from Odessa, an ethnic Russian who is ROC, who tells me that when she, as a child, was visiting Lvov with her mother, they were walking around a an RC cathedral in that city, when they were asked by irate Lvov worshippers to leave the church after they had been overheard speaking in Russian to each other. That happened in the 1970s.

In the early days of the present Ukrainian civil war, it was very noticible (to me, at least) how Uniate murderers engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Eastern Ukraine during their so-called anti-terrorist operations, had dangling from their tunic pockets Uniate rosary beads.


Как записаться в батальон "Донбасс"
How to sign up for the Donbass Battalion

Furthermore, the evil bastard who kicked the whole ATO off, the "Bloody Pastor", is a Baptist.

There are a lot of Baptists in Banderastan.

Patient Observer October 20, 2018 at 9:09 am
Baptists are everywhere. Met some in Romania during a family visit many years ago. They are the tip of the spear in spreading Western values. Most Orthodox Romanians have a good laugh at these shiny people high on Jesus.
Moscow Exile October 20, 2018 at 9:39 am
Same here, though I know one Russian Baptist who is a decent bloke -- reformed sinner, boozer, womanizer etc. Get's his fix now on Jesus -- but he's OK.

Way back when McDonald's were not long arrived at Pushkin Square, some of my English class used to attend English language discussion clubs that had begun to spring up in Moscow cafés as the expat community here began to grow. However, after a short while, some of my former class told me they had stopped attending these clubs because of friendly, beaming US citizens there who were constantly approaching them , wishing to inform them of the "Good News" of jesus dying for their sins in order that their souls be saved.

The Baptist Task force had landed!

Patient Observer October 20, 2018 at 10:01 am
Basically, they are another NGO.

A sort-of friend, US born but with a strong western Ukrainian heritage, told me that he hopes that Christianity will spread to Russia. We stopped talking about such matter but we both know what we think of each other. Actually, that friendship has essentially ended as he was simply insincere on just about everything.

Mark Chapman October 20, 2018 at 9:10 am
Western Ukraine is only useful to the west as an exporter of nationalistic and religious hate: nobody really wants it, to absorb such a loose cannon into its own society and state. Even the Poles don't want it – who in their right mind would want to take on a big bunch of underemployed working-age men who have accustomed themselves to a lawless state, compelled only by its own politically-unacceptable beliefs, with no gun control? I can't imagine what could go wrong there.

The west likes to keep West Ukraine a simmering hotbed of violence and rage, because it helps to keep the rest of rump Ukraine committed to an anti-Russian course. As is usual when NATO embarks upon a course of meddling and tweaking, it gives no thought whatsoever to the potential unintended consequences of liberating fascist nationalist sentiment and allowing it to form doctrine and formulate policy. Note to NATO – these people now have the bit in their teeth, and cannot be expected to go back to being simple farmers and postal clerks and switchboard operators. They like walking around carrying automatic weapons and playing war all day long. For them, the war will never end until either Russia capitulates to them – another way of saying never – or they are wiped out. NATO opened the Ukrainian Pandora's box, and let out all the ugliness and evil, and the first thing it did was to gang up on Hope, hidden in the bottom, and strangle the life out of it. There will not be any putting the Nazis back in their box.

Which is precisely why Russia should just dump what's left of Ukraine to its fate. Pull out all investment, send the guest workers home, seal the borders and conduct scrupulous immigration checks to prevent Ukrainians from entering Russia. Move those borders up to the current limits of Novorossiya – not colonizing it with Russians, it should keep the same inhabitants, but using it as a buffer state to keep the non-ethnic-Russian Ukrainians out. No trade with Ukraine, let NATO subsidize it. It would collapse in nothing flat. Make sure Russia has no further responsibility for it. It's sad that the NATO experiment was so successful at turning Slavs against one another, but in the end it will have its punishment as it is forced to accept the lunatics as its own.

[Oct 21, 2018] As an aside about aliases, the first thing that comes to my mind when everyone has more than one name isn't Al Capone, but the Russian communists

Oct 21, 2018 | awfulavalanche.wordpress.com
          • Ryan Ward says: October 18, 2018 at 14:36 The reason for the names is that all Orthodox bishops are also monks. Most of the time, people chosen to be bishops were monks already, but if not, they are tonsured as monks as part of the process of becoming a bishop. The thing is, part of the process of becoming a monk is taking a new name. The new name is meant to reinforce the idea that a monk "dies to the world". So Joe Blow is now dead, while Dmitrios Blow begins a new life in the monastery (or as the bishop, as the case may be). I believe occasionally monks who become bishops sometimes take a new name again, which makes things more complicated.

            As an aside about aliases, the first thing that comes to my mind when everyone has more than one name isn't Al Capone, but the Russian communists. The commonalities between the two (which include a number of other features as well) might be part of the reason why the Church and the Party never got along with each other. They had too much in common not to be competitors 😉

[Oct 21, 2018] Warning to Russian Tourists: Skip Athos This Year!

Notable quotes:
"... "Mount Athos is commonly referred to in Greek as the "Holy Mountain" (Ἅγιον Ὄρος Hágion Óros) and the entity as the "Athonite State" (Αθωνική Πολιτεία, Athoniki Politia). Other languages of Orthodox tradition also use names translating to "Holy Mountain" (e.g. Bulgarian and Serbian Света гора Sveta gora, Russian Святая гора Svyatya gora, Georgian მთაწმინდა). In the classical era, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was known as Acté or Akté (Ἀκτή). ..."
"... Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1988." ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | awfulavalanche.wordpress.com

October 16, 2018 by yalensis Dear Readers:

Hopefully this will be my last piece on religion, at least for a while. I am hoping to return to more secular subjects, like astronauts, opera, and perhaps even the escape from Sobibor. (Although, if the Mummy Apocalypse starts in Kiev, then all bets are off, just warning y'all )

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople: Can't go there any more

However, I did want to give at least a quantum of closure to the Autocephaly story. The Russian Church Synod reacted surprisingly firmly yesterday (a lot of people thought they would be too chicken to go that far, but they did, so bravo to them!), so there was a complete split with Constantinople, and a declaring of the latter to be " Raskolniki ", aka Splitters. From the Russian POV, Constantinople is now Churcha Non Grata . Believers of the True (=Canonical) Orthodox Faith are informed they are not to pray or take communion in any Churches under the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarch, Bartholomew. Good to know. Being an atheist, raised in a sovok-type family, I never set foot in a church anyhow, nor took communion. But were I ever to do that (highly dubious), it certainly wouldn't be in Constantinople! Not so long as that Banderite-loving SOB is in charge, so there!

In 2017 Greece was the second most popular destination for Russian tourists.

So, I have this piece by Alina Nazarova , which lays out the rules of conduct of this new religious war. The rules were laid out by Archbishop ( Протоиерей ) Igor Yakimchuk, who is the liaison to the public of the Moscow Patriarch. According to Igor: The Synod says its decision must be obeyed by all members of the canonical Russian Orthodox Church. The following churches and cathedrals are forbidden to worshipers: All the functioning churches in Stamboul, that one single Christian church in Antalya (Turkey); the ones on Crete, and on the islands of Dodecanese in Greece. Some of these areas coincide with vacation spots beloved of Russian tourists. Of course, they can still go to the beach, that's not the issue. They could even go inside a church probably, as a tourist, you know, like gazing at the ikons. The issue is that they cannot light candles, participate in the mass, or take communion. If they disobey these rules, then the punishment will be as follows:

If any member of the priesthood violates above rules, then he would be subject to прещение , which is defined as a traditional form of disciplinary punishment employed in Russian churches. The punishment ranges from a slap on the wrist, to a demotion, to full-blown Anathema.

But what about the lay persons? What would be their punishment if they disobeyed Archbishop Igor? "Repentance in the confessional" [do Orthodox have a confessional like Catholics? I didn't even know that ] for disobeying the Church," Igor elucidates. But What About The Grace-Giving Fire?

People who have been through a divorce know what it's like that "day after" the fateful words are spoken. That's when people ponder and start tallying up their losses. Like, who gets the dog. How am I going to feed myself? etc etc.

Similarly, in this "divorce" between Russia and Constantinople, which only happened yesterday, the Russian side in particular is coming to grips with what it lost in this process. Not that there are regrets: It had to be done. But one cannot paste on a happy face and just pretend there are no negative consequences.

Miracle Flame of Jerusalem

So, I have this other piece , also by Alina Nazarova, which concerns the Grace-Giving Fire. Apparently there is this Fire, sort of the mystical version of the Olympic Flame. It's a Miracle-Flame that never goes out, no matter how many fire extinguishers you spray it with! This flame normally resides in Jerusalem, but every Easter it is brought to Russia. People were worried that the split with Constantinople will affect this. But Moscow Patriarch Kirill's Press Secretary Alexander Volkov reassures believers that the fire will arrive on schedule. Since it travels directly from Jerusalem, it will not be affected by the Schism.

What will be affected, however, are other miraculous artifacts and relics which arrive in Moscow every Easter, by special delivery from Tsargrad, aka Constantinople! "The bringing of these holy relics is something that the two churches arrange between themselves," Volkov explains. Adding that this is not going to be possible any more, for obvious reasons. But the good news is that the Sacred Flame will still be arriving on schedule next Easter, like always. Whew, I was worried about that! [Actually, I never heard of it before ]

The Elephant In The Room

But now we get to the Elephant in the room: Mount Athos . Of all the things that the Russian Church is sacrificing, and the price that it has to pay for its principled decision: Barring believers from making the pilgrimage to Mount Athos is perhaps the most painful of all. See, Athos was the one glorious ace in Bartholomew's deck of cards. He boldly played it and the Russian Church boldly called his bluff. And yet with open eyes, knowing that this loss will be painful for them. When asked about this specifically, Igor confirmed that, yes, the Russian Church Synod has forbidden believers of the canonical church to go to Mount Athos. At all. Not even as tourists.

Not that the place even welcomes tourists. I have this wiki entry which explains how this thing works. Athos is the Eastern Orthodox equivalent of the Vatican. It is an independent polity within the Greek Republic, subject to its own laws, and home to 20 monasteries. All of which are under the direct jurisdiction of Schismatic Patriarch Bartholomew.

Mount Athos monks doing their shtick

wiki: "Mount Athos is commonly referred to in Greek as the "Holy Mountain" (Ἅγιον Ὄρος Hágion Óros) and the entity as the "Athonite State" (Αθωνική Πολιτεία, Athoniki Politia). Other languages of Orthodox tradition also use names translating to "Holy Mountain" (e.g. Bulgarian and Serbian Света гора Sveta gora, Russian Святая гора Svyatya gora, Georgian მთაწმინდა). In the classical era, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was known as Acté or Akté (Ἀκτή).
Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1988."

wiki goes on to say that, when Greece joined the European Union, the special status of Athos was codified as an exception to the usual EU rules of "free movement of peoples", namely: "The free movement of people and goods in its territory is prohibited, unless formal permission is granted by the Monastic State's authorities, and only males are allowed to enter."

That last point being important, as the EU normally frowns on gender-based discrimination. But this is a church matter, so they make an exception, just like they do with the Catholics. So, the only issue here is those Russian males who want to go to one of the monasteries on Athos and do whatever it is they do in there. They can't do that any more! As Archbishop Igor noted, "Tourists don't go to Athos anyhow." Which is why my blogpost title is tongue-in-cheek, in case anyone was wondering

In conclusion: Mount Athos : This was NATO's ace card, and they played it well! Gotta give credit to the enemy, when he makes a clever play. NATO and the Banderites thought to force Russia into Zugzwang. However, the Russian Church responded also with a clever (and highly principled) if forced move. Now we wait to see what happens next! Posted in Religion | Tagged Alexander Volkov , Archbishop Igor Yakimchuk , Mount Athos | 15 Comments

[Oct 21, 2018] Byzantium (Almost) Recognizes Banderite Church Part III

Notable quotes:
"... An aged man is but a paltry thing , ..."
"... A tattered coat upon a stick, unless ..."
"... Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing ..."
"... For every tatter in its mortal dress, ..."
"... Nor is there singing school but studying ..."
"... Monuments of its own magnificence; ..."
"... And therefore I have sailed the seas and come ..."
"... To the holy city of Byzantium. ..."
"... Stauropygia is a status given to Orthodox monasteries, laurels and fraternities, as well as to cathedrals and spiritual schools, making them independent of the local diocesan government and subordinated directly to the patriarch or synod. The literal translation of "the installation of the cross" indicates that in the stauropegic monasteries the cross was planted by the patriarchs with his own hands. Stavropigial status is the highest. ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | awfulavalanche.wordpress.com

Posted on October 14, 2018 by yalensis An aged man is but a paltry thing ,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

(William Butler Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium")

Dear Readers:

And so we continue with this Byzantine saga. Since the story seems to have frozen a bit over the weekend, we have a little time to catch up on our Sunday Bible reading, before the fires of religious zeal truly ignite in earnest -- probably tomorrow! What we have here, folks, is nothing less than an Historical Whammy. Nothing less than the reversal of Russia's victory of 1686, which brought the Kiev Metropolitan under the authority of the Moscow Patriarch.

Step #1 in this historical rollback was the decision of the Constantinople synod to remove the anathemas of Filaret and Macarius. Step #2 was the decision to restore something called " Stauropygia " in Kiev. It sounds like this has something to do with Storing Pigs, but no. Stauropygia ( σταυροπηγία ) is another one of those fancy Greek words. Online definition: Stauropygia is a status given to Orthodox monasteries, laurels and fraternities, as well as to cathedrals and spiritual schools, making them independent of the local diocesan government and subordinated directly to the patriarch or synod. The literal translation of "the installation of the cross" indicates that in the stauropegic monasteries the cross was planted by the patriarchs with his own hands. Stavropigial status is the highest.

Mummy Apocalypse starts tomorrow!

All of which is, of course, just another clever ruse on the part of Father Bart to insert his tentacles into the Ukraine and grab some real estate. According to the Skripunov piece that I linked, Bart already has his wish-list drawn up, of monasteries and other assets whose title will pass from Moscow to him. For example, last Monday (October 8), his Exarch Ambassadors were already roaming around various Ukrainian cathedrals, measuring the drapes and the mummies, and so on.

So, what else did the Sinuous Synod decree? Well, if I am reading this timeline correctly (and I could be wrong), the 3-day Synod at Constantinople started on Thursday and Friday, broke for the weekend, and will resume Monday (tomorrow) with its final decision on Ukrainian Autocephaly.

Giving Russian Superhero President Vladimir Putin one last desperate attempt and 24 hours (channel Kiefer Sutherland!) to pull off an actual miracle and avert this catastrophe. Perhaps by an 11th-hour blackmailing of Patriarch Bartholomew!

Erdoğan: No Backsies!

One might have thought (and one did think at the time) that Putin would have included a kick in the groin to Patriarch Bartholomew as part of the package-deal he concocted with Turkish President Erdoğan. That was a few weeks back, when Russia promised not to bomb the jihadists out of Idlib, after all. Which jihadis included a strong Turkish contingent. One might have assumed there would be a secret clause in this deal, whereby the Turkish Sultan would rein in Bart's Banderite ambitions. But no . The Turkish Sultan is no paltry old man! And he seems to have made out like a bandit, if not a Banderite, even though Putin was the one holding all the good cards at the time.

Peskov: "I will defend them, from behind this chair!"

Still, let's give the Russian government at least some credit for rushing quickly to lock the barn door after the horse has already escaped. According to the Moshkin piece, which I linked above: After the Emergency Meeting of his security team 2 days ago, President Putin (well, not Putin himself, but his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov) flounced onto the stage trilling the usual aria: "If developing events should turn into the groove of illegal actions, then of course, just as Russia defends the interests of the Russian-speaking people [in the Ukraine], then by the same token it will defend the interests of Orthodox Believers." But then hastening to add that Moscow's reactions will remain strictly non-violent: "Using exclusively political and diplomatic tools."

What tools, pray say, Dmitry? Well, some pro-Russians are grasping at the weak straw hope that Putin can convince Erdoğan to do a backsie on the Idlib deal. For example, everybody knows that Bartholomew is good friends with Fethullah Gülen , of whom Erdoğan is no fan; in fact, the former attempted (with American help) to overthrow the latter, back in 2016. Failing in his coup attempt, Gülen now lives in exile in America, where he works for the CIA. As does Patriarch Bartholomew, from his lair in Stamboul! Meanwhile, Kirill Frolov, Head of the Association of Othodox Experts, told reporter Moshkin that he hopes the Russian government will expose these connections between Gülen and Bartholomew. One also hopes the Russian government will put both men together, side by side, and then give them a simultaneous (two-footed) jump kick to the groins. (And I wish I could have written that sentence in Old Church Slavonic, because then I would get to use the Dual Declension for "two groins", I think it would be something like орѣхома .) But that probably is not going to happen.

Bartholomew and Gülen: A jump kick to the groins?

Another line of inquiry, according to Frolov, is the well-known connection between Constantinople Exarch Rudnik (aka Ilarion) with Chechen militants. In fact, back in the day, Ilarion acted as the Emissar of Lead Terrorist Shamil Basaev ! Who had much blood on his hands, including the children of Beslan.

And a third line of inquiry being Denisenko himself (aka Filaret) and his well-known ties with the neo-Nazi Banderite parties. As if exposing these nefarious connections will somehow shock the Europeans. Who already know all this stuff anyhow, and are cheering these guys on. This is their team after all!

Next, Frolov warns what is going to happen next [probably starting tomorrow]: "The most dangerous people around are those who are trying to lull us with fairy tales of the type, Nothing horrible has happened, there will be no seizures of churches, see in the missive of the Constantinople Patriarch he even specified that there will be no seizures! This type of Constantinople 'peace-making' is of the same variety of the website 'Peacemaker' [a Banderite website that maintains a hit-list of enemies of the Ukrainian regime targeted for assassination – yalensis]". Frolov goes on to predict, that the SBU and the irregular Banderite military formations will soon begin the land seizures. He also warns that the life of canonical Metropolitan Onufriy (who remains loyal to the Moscow Patriarchate) may be in danger.

Kurt Volker: Has reason to gloat.

One sector of unexpected hope (for Russia) is the Vatican reaction. The Pope of Rome #1 is, amazingly, not only not behind these events, but even appears to hold the Ukrainian Autocephalites in extreme disdain. Thus, it may behoove all good Christian folk to remember that the Roman Pope is Infallible! (When one agrees with his opinions.)

Meanwhile, a grinning-like-Cheshire-Cat Kurt Volker , American Special Rep to the Ukraine, has welcomed recent events like the Second Coming of Christ. Kurt and his patrons are already licking their chops, building Monuments to Their Own Magnificence, and planning the violent land grabs to come. And warning with crocodile laughter, that any violence that does happen, will all be on Moscow: "I hope there are no protests or violence instigated [in Ukraine] as a result of this decision [Ukrainian autocephaly] – that would be tragic," Volker opined self-righteously . Adding smugly that Putin "has lost Ukraine" once and for all.

Oh well As Humphrey Bogart used to say, "We will always have Crimea!"

[Oct 21, 2018] Poroshenko refused the Russian Orthodox Church any rights in Ukraine because of "the XVII century annexation".

Oct 21, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile October 14, 2018 at 1:17 am

11:05 6 931

Порошенко отказал РПЦ в правах на Украину из-за "аннексии XVII века"

Poroshenko refused the Russian Orthodox Church any rights in Ukraine because of "the XVII century annexation".
The President of Ukraine has announced to an audience believers in Kiev that a decision of the Ukraine Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarchate has confirmed the illegality of the "annexation" of the Keiv metropolis. The ROC has no rights in the Ukraine, he said


Poroshenko with his pet patriarch.

The Russian Orthodox Church has never had any Orthodox Church canonical rights in the Ukraine, said Petro Poroshenko. The President of the Ukraine stated this before thanksgiving prayers on St. Sophia Square in Kiev, informs "Interfax-Ukraine".

"The Ecumenical Patriarchate has at last declared Moscow's end of the XVII century annexation of the Keiv metropolis as illegal. They clearly and unequivocally stated that the Russian Orthodox Church has no canonical rights of the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine" said the Ukrainian leader. Poroshenko stressed that "the Ukraine has not been, is not and will not be canonical territory of the Russian Church".

The President of Ukraine reminded that Patriarch Kirill [of the ROC -- ME] prays for the Russian military at every service, which, Poroshenko said, " kills Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. And in the Ukraine, unfortunately, we have churches that still recognize Patriarch Kirill's authority How can churches in which prayers are said for a patriarch who prays for the Russian army be called Ukrainian?" he asked the believers.

Moscow Exile October 14, 2018 at 1:19 am
The church will be reunited after you have been strung up on a Maidan lampost, Valtsman!
Moscow Exile October 14, 2018 at 1:35 am
On October 11, a Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to "proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine." The Synod revoked a legally binding status of the 1686 letter, which empowered the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev. In addition, the Synod decided to re-establish the office of the Stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Kiev, which means its head would be subordinate directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Moreover, the Synod lifted anathema from the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine – Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Makary of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church and other local Orthodox Churches view these decisions as hostile and illegitimate and warn they might trigger a split within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

See: Attempts to destroy canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine will fail -- Patriarch Kirill

[Oct 19, 2018] Ukrainian religious shism as a part of color revolution

Attempt to split the church were pretty much predictable, as it increases the level of sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. So Poroshenko position is logical.
The problem here that there are not that many believers in eastern part of Ukraine. But there is substantial number of Uniate believers in Western part of Ukraine.
Notable quotes:
"... Could it be that the Vatican is the principal force behind the 2014 Maidan uprising in Kiev, the regime-change operation in Ukraine, as a part of its millennium-old war against Russian Orthodoxy? ..."
"... a very clear way the textbook activities of color revolution conducted by that most powerful and respectable institution of soft power, a religious university - the Ukrainian Catholic University - with its own media group, its own business academy, and funding and contacts with many "philanthropies" from the west. It's also headed by an American bishop, with a substantial provenance and respected standing in US elite circles. ..."
"... The Catholic Church is losing its hold over the masses, losing its power, and yet continues with its war against the Orthodox side of the schism, and doubles down on tools of domination, experimenting in Ukraine and some other eastern European countries with ways to control a society - a clear threat to western Europe if it could but see it. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Oct 19, 2018 12:08:14 AM | link

Could it be that the Vatican is the principal force behind the 2014 Maidan uprising in Kiev, the regime-change operation in Ukraine, as a part of its millennium-old war against Russian Orthodoxy?

The Saker is carrying a long article by Russian author Aleksandr Voznesensky, translated heroically by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard. It's cross-posted from StalkerZone, but there are some comments on Saker, and I know we can link there, so here goes:
How the Vatican Is Preparing to Launch a Religious War in Ukraine with the Help of the Constantinople Patriarchate and the Uniates

The article is a keeper - I recommend bookmarking it for reference if nothing else. It details the events leading up to and following the Maidan, and illustrates in a very clear way the textbook activities of color revolution conducted by that most powerful and respectable institution of soft power, a religious university - the Ukrainian Catholic University - with its own media group, its own business academy, and funding and contacts with many "philanthropies" from the west. It's also headed by an American bishop, with a substantial provenance and respected standing in US elite circles.

Although the article is long, it's very readable, and well translated.

Towards the end, it poses a view that I had never considered, but which resonates with the trajectory of the more secular US empire. The Catholic Church is losing its hold over the masses, losing its power, and yet continues with its war against the Orthodox side of the schism, and doubles down on tools of domination, experimenting in Ukraine and some other eastern European countries with ways to control a society - a clear threat to western Europe if it could but see it.

I don't understand much about the recent moves of the Church in Ukraine, but anyone can see how fraught are the faithful because of these lawless acts. I often forget the old battle by Rome against Constantinople, but I have every inclination to believe it completely. This article does a splendid job of detailing it and making it very visible.

[Sep 29, 2018] Most Christians are not aware that in the latter part of the 16th century, early Lutheran Reformers close colleagues and followers of Martin Luther set in motion an eight year contact and correspondence with the (then) Ecumenical Patriarch, Jeremias II of Constantinople.

Sep 29, 2018 | www.unz.com

Cagey Beast , says: Website August 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT

Seeing Orthodoxy and Martin Luther mentioned in the same place reminded me of the amusing history of early Lutheran contacts with the eastern Church:

Most Christians are not aware that in the latter part of the 16th century, early Lutheran Reformers -- close colleagues and followers of Martin Luther -- set in motion an eight year contact and correspondence with the (then) Ecumenical Patriarch, Jeremias II of Constantinople. The outcome might have changed the course of Christian history. Kevin Allen speaks with scholar Dr Paraskeve (Eve) Tibbs about this fascinating and largely unknown chapter in post-Reformation history.

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/aftoday/early_lutheran_orthodox_dialog_after_the_reformation

From Wittenberg to Antioch
September 16, 2007 Length: 32:12

A fascinating interview with Fr. Gregory Hogg, an Antiochian priest in Western Michigan. Fr. Gregory was a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor and professor for 22 years before coming to Orthodoxy.
[...]

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/aftoday/early_lutheran_orthodox_dialog_after_the_reformation

Long story short, the western reformers were too argumentative and lawyerly for the Patriarch of Constantinople to take. He essentially said "please stop writing to me".

[Sep 07, 2018] Procrastination Is More About Managing Emotions Than Time, Says Study

Sep 07, 2018 | science.slashdot.org

BeauHD on Saturday September 01, 2018 @09:00AM from the it's-all-in-your-head dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: [A new study] identified two areas of the brain that determine whether we are more likely to get on with a task or continually put it off. Researchers used a survey and scans of 264 people's brains to measure how proactive they were. Experts say the study, in Psychological Science , underlines procrastination is more about managing emotions than time . It found that the amygdala -- an almond-shaped structure in the temporal (side) lobe which processes our emotions and controls our motivation -- was larger in procrastinators.

In these individuals, there were also poorer connections between the amygdala and a part of the brain called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC). The DACC uses information from the amygdala and decides what action the body will take.

It helps keep the person on track by blocking out competing emotions and distractions.

The researchers suggest that procrastinators are less able to filter out interfering emotions and distractions because the connections between the amygdala and the DACC in their brains are not as good as in proactive individuals.

[Feb 05, 2018] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Feb 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're the same thing.

Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealisticallv positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing and crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye. Then fly your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing
incredibly meaningful work that's likely to save the planet one day.

But when you stop and really think about it, conventional life advice -- all the positive and happy self-help stuff we hear all the time -- is actually fixating on what you lack. It lasers in on what you perceive your personal shortcomings and failures to already be, and then emphasizes them for you.

You learn about the best ways to make money because you feel you don't have enough money already. You stand in front of the mirror and repeat affirmations saying that you're beautiful because you feel as though you're not beautiful already. You follow dating and relationship advice because you feel that you're unlovable already. You try goofy visualization exercises about being more successful because you feel as though you aren't successful enough already.

Ironically, this fixation on the positive -- on what's better, what's superior -- only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be. After all, no truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite that she's happy. She just is.

There's a saying in Texas: "The smallest dog barks the loudest." A confident man doesn't feel a need to prove that he's confident. A rich woman doesn't feel a need to convince anybody that she's rich. Either you are or you are not. And if you're dreaming of something all the time, then you're reinforcing the same unconscious reality over and over: that you are not that.

Everyone and their TV commercial wants you to believe that the key to a good life is a nicer job, or a more rugged car, or a prettier girlfriend, or a hot tub with an inflatable pool for the kids. The world is constantly telling you that the path to a better life is more, more, more -- buy more, own more, make more, flick more, be more. You are constantly bombarded with messages to give a fuck about event hi ng, all the time. Give a fuck about a new TV. Give a fuck about having a better vacation than your coworkers. Give a fuck about buying that new lawn ornament. Give a fuck about having the right kind of selfie stick.

Amanda Henry on October 30, 2016

A Much Needed Reminder to Choose Your Battles Wisely

As someone who has given far too many f***s about far too many things their entire life, this book was exactly the wake up call I needed. Even as a child in elementary school, I would have a miniature meltdown when I got a bad grade or if a friend was mean to me that day. As an adult, I got better at hiding these emotional upheavals and intense reactions to the world around me, but they never really went away with my maturity like I had hoped. I took to heart every disheartening news article I read and every crappy thing that happened to me at work or in school. I'd let it consume me, because I was never told to live life any other way or that controlling my reactions was even remotely possible; I thought it was just a permanent part of my personality. I always knew that it was more of a vice than a virtue, but I felt like I couldn't fully control it.

Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** employs a witty use of profanity laced with satirical comedy that's bursting with philosophical wisdom. Much of Manson's inspiration originates from nihilists, Buddhists, Albert Camus, and Charles Bukowski, but he brings those philosophies into a more modern and palatable perspective. He reminds us that life is too short to react so passionately about every little thing. We have a limited emotional capacity, and we often squander it on reactions to mean-spirited people or unfortunate events, completely forgetting that, although we can't control the world around us, we can control ourselves. This book has empowered me to exercise control over my reactions.

Shortly after reading this book, my husband commented at how "zen" I've become. I'm no longer angrily venting to him about all of the various ways the world upsets me. I still allow myself to feel and talk about things that bother me (I'm not aiming to achieve nirvana as a Buddhist monk), but petty things no longer have a hold on me. I let the negativity wash over me now without letting it absorb into my soul, and my life has been much more enjoyable as a result.

I was so inspired by this book and its philosophy, that I wanted a permanent reminder for myself to further ensure that I use my f***s wisely from now onward. For my birthday, I got this simple, but meaningful tattoo on my right wrist. The ∞ symbol reminds me of the infinite nature of time and outer space, and the 0 on the bottom represents humanity's relevance to time and space as a whole. It can also be translated as don't make something (∞) out of nothing (0) or a reminder that there are infinite opportunities to give a f***, but that I will remain steadfast in giving 0 f***s about things that don't really matter.

If you're the type of person who's struggled to keep their temper in line or if you're like me and you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster because you take every event in the world and within your own life to heart, I strongly encourage you to read this book. If profanity is so much of a problem for you, that you can't tolerate reading the first half of this book (the last half is much less profane) you're probably too narrow-minded to have taken away any of the many philosophical benefits this book offers.

[Dec 13, 2017] Business Workers want bosses to get lost

Aug 19, 2005 | bbc.co.uk
Most workers reckon that their bosses are excessively bureaucratic, apportion blame wrongly and are inconsistent in decision making, a report has found.

Sirota Survey Intelligence questioned 3.5 million staff over three years at firms including global giants Shell, Tesco, Microsoft and Dell.

The belief that managers hamper staff is deeply ingrained, the report showed.

Instead, workers want to know what is expected of them, have competent bosses and better cooperation across the firm.

'Out of the way'

Sirota argues that the biggest challenge for many companies is creating an enthusiastic workforce as this is a key element of a successful organisation.

Dr David Sirota, Chairman of the research firm, believes that too often managers get in the way and hinder their staff's natural enthusiasm.

"People come to work, to work," Mr Sirota said.

"Unfortunately, they often find conditions that block high performance, such as excessive bureaucracy burying them in paperwork, and slowing decision making to a crawl.

"Management has to help employees perform, which in many cases means getting out of the way."

[Oct 27, 2017] The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fck A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Oct 27, 2017 | www.amazon.com

stars

By Amanda Henry on October 30, 2016

A Much Needed Reminder to Choose Your Battles Wisely

As someone who has given far too many f***s about far too many things their entire life, this book was exactly the wake up call I needed. Even as a child in elementary school, I would have a miniature meltdown when I got a bad grade or if a friend was mean to me that day. As an adult, I got better at hiding these emotional upheavals and intense reactions to the world around me, but they never really went away with my maturity like I had hoped. I took to heart every disheartening news article I read and every crappy thing that happened to me at work or in school. I'd let it consume me, because I was never told to live life any other way or that controlling my reactions was even remotely possible; I thought it was just a permanent part of my personality. I always knew that it was more of a vice than a virtue, but I felt like I couldn't fully control it.

Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** employs a witty use of profanity laced with satirical comedy that's bursting with philosophical wisdom. Much of Manson's inspiration originates from nihilists, Buddhists, Albert Camus, and Charles Bukowski, but he brings those philosophies into a more modern and palatable perspective. He reminds us that life is too short to react so passionately about every little thing. We have a limited emotional capacity, and we often squander it on reactions to mean-spirited people or unfortunate events, completely forgetting that, although we can't control the world around us, we can control ourselves. This book has empowered me to exercise control over my reactions.

Shortly after reading this book, my husband commented at how "zen" I've become. I'm no longer angrily venting to him about all of the various ways the world upsets me. I still allow myself to feel and talk about things that bother me (I'm not aiming to achieve nirvana as a Buddhist monk), but petty things no longer have a hold on me. I let the negativity wash over me now without letting it absorb into my soul, and my life has been much more enjoyable as a result.

I was so inspired by this book and its philosophy, that I wanted a permanent reminder for myself to further ensure that I use my f***s wisely from now onward. For my birthday, I got this simple, but meaningful tattoo on my right wrist. The ∞ symbol reminds me of the infinite nature of time and outer space, and the 0 on the bottom represents humanity's relevance to time and space as a whole. It can also be translated as don't make something (∞) out of nothing (0) or a reminder that there are infinite opportunities to give a f***, but that I will remain steadfast in giving 0 f***s about things that don't really matter.

If you're the type of person who's struggled to keep their temper in line or if you're like me and you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster because you take every event in the world and within your own life to heart, I strongly encourage you to read this book. If profanity is so much of a problem for you, that you can't tolerate reading the first half of this book (the last half is much less profane) you're probably too narrow-minded to have taken away any of the many philosophical benefits this book offers.

By VH on September 14, 2016
A surprisingly serious book - in a good way

There are a dozen of topics Mark goes through in this book. Some of the main themes are these:

(1) Choosing what to care about; focusing on the things/problems that are actually meaningful/important (= "giving a f*** about the right things")
(2) Learning to be fine with some negative things; always aiming for positivity isn't practical, and is stressful in itself
(3) Taking responsibility of your own life; it's good for your self-esteem not to keep blaming the circumstances for your problems
(4) Understanding the importance of honesty and boundaries, especially in relationships
(5) Identity; it might a good idea not to commit strongly to any special identity such as "an undiscovered genius", because then any challenges will make you fear the potential loss of that identity you've clinged to
(6) Motivation; how to improve it by accepting failure and taking action
(7) Death; how learning to be more comfortable with one's own mortality can make it easier to live

The first 20% of this book were a little bit boring to read, but after that, the experience was very absorbing. Just like Manson's previous book (Models), I will give this one five stars.

(BTW this book wasn't as humorous as I expected. It was much more a serious than a funny book to read. The final chapters, discussing the acceptance of death, made me actually a little bit tense and distressed.)

[Sep 17, 2017] Colleagues Addicted to Tech

Notable quotes:
"... dwelling on the negative can backfire. ..."
"... It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs. ..."
Apr 20, 2015 | NYTimes.com

Discussing Bad Work Situations

I have been in my present position for over 25 years. Five years ago, I was assigned a new boss, who has a reputation in my industry for harassing people in positions such as mine until they quit. I have managed to survive, but it's clear that it's time for me to move along. How should I answer the inevitable interview question: Why would I want to leave after so long? I've heard that speaking badly of a boss is an interview no-no, but it really is the only reason I'm looking to find something new. BROOKLYN

I am unemployed and interviewing for a new job. I have read that when answering interview questions, it's best to keep everything you say about previous work experiences or managers positive.

But what if you've made one or two bad choices in the past: taking jobs because you needed them, figuring you could make it work - then realizing the culture was a bad fit, or you had an arrogant, narcissistic boss?

Nearly everyone has had a bad work situation or boss. I find it refreshing when I read stories about successful people who mention that they were fired at some point, or didn't get along with a past manager. So why is it verboten to discuss this in an interview? How can the subject be addressed without sounding like a complainer, or a bad employee? CHICAGO

As these queries illustrate, the temptation to discuss a negative work situation can be strong among job applicants. But in both of these situations, and in general, criticizing a current or past employer is a risky move. You don't have to paint a fictitiously rosy picture of the past, but dwelling on the negative can backfire. Really, you don't want to get into a detailed explanation of why you have or might quit at all. Instead, you want to talk about why you're such a perfect fit for the gig you're applying for.

So, for instance, a question about leaving a long-held job could be answered by suggesting that the new position offers a chance to contribute more and learn new skills by working with a stronger team. This principle applies in responding to curiosity about jobs that you held for only a short time.

It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs.

The truth is, even if you're completely right about the past, a prospective employer doesn't really want to hear about the workplace injustices you've suffered, or the failings of your previous employer. A manager may even become concerned that you will one day add his or her name to the list of people who treated you badly. Save your cathartic outpourings for your spouse, your therapist, or, perhaps, the future adoring profile writer canonizing your indisputable success.

Send your workplace conundrums to workologist@nytimes.com, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.

[Apr 19, 2017] What would Jesus disrupt? Clearly the banks. He would be all about debt forgiveness.

Notable quotes:
"... Cynicism does derive from Socrates; from that part of the Socratic approach that questions community norms so aggressively that they have to kill you to shut you up. As for Socrates, so for Jesus. ..."
"... What would Jesus disrupt? Clearly the banks. He would be all about debt forgiveness. http://www.michael-hudson.com/2017/01/the-land-belongs-to-god/ ..."
"... I believe Lambert's point was exactly that: that the money-changers should be thrown out of the temple; that Blankfein is not doing "God's work"; that the whole article was a depiction of the deliberate debauchery of the Christian message by conflating it with material enterprise. That article in the links was a spiritual horror show. ..."
"... Has someone written a good book on the history of usury? When did it become acceptable in the Christian dominated US? Islam bans it. Shakespeare talked about it. Our founders lamented their usurious debts. Think I read somewhere that the Zionists pledged, after WW2, to get out of banking altogether? ..."
Apr 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
PhilM, April 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm

"What have I to do with thee, woman?"

Christ was apparently a true cynic. See the wikipedia article on Cynicism before judging that; it's not original with me. Cynicism was open in its denunciation of all human convention. Nevertheless, it was non-violent, so "bringing a sword" means not the waging of organized war, but rather is a metaphor of conflict between those who support conventional morality and those who support the Cynical way of life; if indeed those were Jesus's words (if there were any words of Jesus, for that matter), as they are mostly incompatible with the rest of his speech.

Cynicism does derive from Socrates; from that part of the Socratic approach that questions community norms so aggressively that they have to kill you to shut you up. As for Socrates, so for Jesus.

It's amazing the doors that open onto the understanding of Christianity once its Cynical features are recognized, and the neo-Platonist frosting that was applied by Paul, and the forces of order later on, is demoted. The cake is actually quite inspirational; the frosting, pretty revolting. But the natural selection of ideas, that process which favors the survival of ideas that enhance power and authority, has decisively suppressed the Cynical core.

UserFriendly , April 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

What would Jesus disrupt? Clearly the banks. He would be all about debt forgiveness. http://www.michael-hudson.com/2017/01/the-land-belongs-to-god/

AbateMagicThinking but Not money , April 17, 2017 at 9:51 am

Re: What would Jesus disrupt? (just the question, not the linked article)

Wasn't there something about money changers in the temple? My view is that Forex is the great threat to whatever commonwealth anyone lives in – if not now, sooner or later. Always cheaper elsewhere.

So I reckon Jesus would disrupt the system of foreign currency exchange. I imagine that something more turbulent than disrupting the equilibrium of Forex trader's desks would be involved. Now, that would be a miracle!

PhilM , April 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Jesus rendered unto Caesar those things which are Caesar's. He was getting the money-changers out of the temple, not getting rid of them altogether. The spiritual path is not material, or military, it is in the mind and the soul. People cannot pursue a material, political, or social agenda of any kind, even one of redistribution, and still be truly "Christian," as Christ would have had it. They must give all they have and find their way in poverty. They must abandon judgment of the actions of their fellows. Just as Diogenes lived in a barrel, but did not much care about the decor of the Athens' St Regis lobby one way or another.

Ultimately the message was that to be poor and angry is to be a slave twice over; to be poor and happy is to be free of the chains of both wealth and resentment. Hence also the point that the poor are always with you; that has come up often here, and the real message is missed: that the most important thing is not necessarily to help the poor, but to be among them: to eliminate concern for material things from life entirely. The same goes for pain; turning the other cheek is not metaphorical; it is a statement that suffering imposed by others has only the meaning one gives it, and to deny that meaning is to deny them power over your mind.

I'm not saying that all of that is right, or even arguable; I'm just saying that I think the philosophical basis of it should be considered more profoundly, and given more respect, than it often is, when it is used for political polemic.

I believe Lambert's point was exactly that: that the money-changers should be thrown out of the temple; that Blankfein is not doing "God's work"; that the whole article was a depiction of the deliberate debauchery of the Christian message by conflating it with material enterprise. That article in the links was a spiritual horror show.

HopeLB , April 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Has someone written a good book on the history of usury? When did it become acceptable in the Christian dominated US? Islam bans it. Shakespeare talked about it. Our founders lamented their usurious debts. Think I read somewhere that the Zionists pledged, after WW2, to get out of banking altogether?

[Apr 17, 2017] Ostara, Ishtar And A Happy Easter Walk

Notable quotes:
"... Just as the day of rest was a spiritual discipline that demonstrated there is more to life than production and consumption - and so was a threat to every narrative of power and control... ..."
"... The spring festival was originally a fertility celebration, so the bunnies connection runs deep. And shallow. ..."
Apr 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ostara, Ishtar And A Happy Easter Walk

Easter echoes the eons old human festivity to celebrate the March exquinox (in the northern hemisphere) and the arrival of spring. The dark and cold days of winter are gone. The bright time of fertility has come.

Today's fertility symbols of Easter, the egg and the hare, relate to the old Germanic fertility goddess Eostre (Ostara). Ishtar, a Mesopotamian goddess of love, stepped down into the underworld of death but was revived. The Christian resurrection of Jesus is probably a transformation of this older hopeful tale.

When the Christian message spread from its eastern Mediterranean origin its incorporation of old local gods and fables helped to convert the multi-theistic societies to the new monotheistic * believe. The gods of the pre-Christian religions were not completely discarded but their tales transformed to support the new united message the Christian preachers were spreading.

But whatever. - It is spring, the darkness vanishes and it is my favored holiday. This year the Julian and Gregorian calendars coincide. We thus follow the Russian Barbarians and wish us all

Happy Easter


Faberge egg with spring flowers and music box- bigger

Please join me, v. Goethe and Dr. Faust in our traditional Easter Walk:

Look from this height whereon we find us
Back to the town we have left behind us,

Where from the dark and narrow door
Forth a motley multitude pour.

They sun themselves gladly and all are gay,
They celebrate Christ's resurrection to-day.

For have not they themselves arisen?
From smoky huts and hovels and stables,
From labor's bonds and traffic's prison,
From the confinement of roofs and gables,
From many a cramping street and alley,
From churches full of the old world's night,
All have come out to the day's broad light.
...
How it hums o'er the fields and clangs from the steeple!
This is the real heaven of the people,
Both great and little are merry and gay,
I am a man, too, I can be, to-day.

* The Christian Trinity , the three aspects of the one God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a doctrinaire addition of the 4th century. It just adds an explanatory layer on top of the Abrahamic core of the monotheistic Christian message.

Glorious Bach | Apr 16, 2017 7:41:48 AM | 1

Hope, always hope--even in this dreariest of mean times.
Jen | Apr 16, 2017 7:52:22 AM | 2
Happy Easter to all and may we celebrate more Happy Easters to come!

Thanks B for reminding us that as long as we continue to celebrate Easter and remember what it represents, we are also celebrating hope, the possibility of renewal and setting humanity on a path towards peace and away from greed, violence, exploitation and lack of care for our fellow humans, animals and other travellers on this planet.

John Merryman | Apr 16, 2017 8:15:44 AM | 3
Actually the Trinity was one of the earliest pantheistic traditions incorporated and the most foundational to Christianity, as it incorporated the Greek Year Gods, essentially past, present and future. (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
A good book on the subject;
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30250/30250-h/30250-h.htm
John Merryman | Apr 16, 2017 8:19:09 AM | 4
Of course, the Catholic Church, as the eternal institution, didn't really care for a foundational concept of renewal and did its best to fudge the message. Which they did a good job of, resulting in the need for Luther to push the reset button.
John Merryman | Apr 16, 2017 8:27:01 AM | 6
Then again the essential fallacy of monotheism is that absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which consciousness rises, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement from which it fell. The new born babe, not the wise old man.

It's just socially effective to assert the laws are given, rather than emergent with the processes they describe. The assumptions are still deeply embedded in western culture, even if the folk concepts have faded.

Frosty | Apr 16, 2017 8:55:06 AM | 7
sonnet 114

Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,
Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?
Or whether shall I say, mine eye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchemy,
To make of monsters and things indigest
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best,
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O! 'tis the first, 'tis flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:
Mine eye well knows what with his gust is 'greeing,
And to his palate doth prepare the cup:
If it be poisoned, 'tis the lesser sin
That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.

William Shakespeare

fast freddy | Apr 16, 2017 9:11:27 AM | 8
Christianity proclaims that it is righteous and it is at war with (battling) ALL the other religions which are deemed to be (at best) false. The adherents to these other religions are misled (at best) or evil. Christianity says that it cannot tolerate (must destroy) evil. Accordingly, one day the king of Christianity will return to rule the world.

Islam offers up the same story.

What a perfect formula we have for fomenting war. Inspiring youths to kill for their (faith) religion.

Religion is a fundamental component in the justification of mass murder. It's been used this way for centuries and it has not ebbed.

les7 | Apr 16, 2017 12:24:55 PM | 11
Just as the day of rest was a spiritual discipline that demonstrated there is more to life than production and consumption - and so was a threat to every narrative of power and control...

So the resurrection is a symbol that the alternative narrative of the Kingdom of Heaven does triumph over the fear and death we all live in. Not only does the Kingdom of Heaven out-survive death, it transforms it. The resurrection narrative does not defeat the powers of this world through conflict. It 'outlives' them, most especially with those eternal qualities of mercy, forgiveness, life, light, and yes, love.

May we all celebrate this day and the lives of those who have pointed us all to a life of wholeness.

thank you b, for this site and for your work to host it.

Blessings!

John Merryman | Apr 16, 2017 1:08:03 PM | 14
Curtis,

Lol. The spring festival was originally a fertility celebration, so the bunnies connection runs deep. And shallow.

Piotr Berman | Apr 16, 2017 1:11:18 PM | 15
I checked and indeed, you can find Russian greeting cards "Happy Easter", but that seems to be copied from the West. More standard is to greet people on that day with words "Christ has resurrected", and post cards have those words but there are also other, less religious versions. From Holy Internet: " Traditional Easter greeting is Христос воскрес! (Christ is risen!) and the response is Воистину воскрес! (In truth He is risen!) ".
smuks | Apr 16, 2017 1:43:24 PM | 16
There was a nice cartoon in the paper yesterday:

A muslim couple walk past a shop, there's eggs & stuff and a big sign reading 'Happy Easter'.
One of them to the other: 'From what I understand, some rabbit was born to them...'

Happy Easter!

John Merryman | Apr 16, 2017 2:29:48 PM | 17
I think the next phase change of human evolution will involve a switch back from the linear, growth oriented view of the last several thousand years, to a more cyclical, thermodynamic conceptual foundation.

For instance, we think of time as the point of the present moving past to future, but the reality is change turning future to past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth turns. Events have to occur, in order to be determined.

Alan Watts used the example of a boat and its wake, as analogy, in that the wake doesn't steer the boat, the boat creates the wake. Events are first in the present, then in the past.

This makes time an effect of activity, similar to temperature, color, pressure, etc.

If you consider the actual, physical manifestation of time and history, this concept on which human culture is based, it is residue in the present state. What is measured as time; duration, is the state of the present, as events form and dissolve.

The overwhelming physical reality is the thermodynamic convection cycles/feedback loops in which we evolved. They underlay all aspects of biology and civilization. Right now, you might say we are at the crest of an enormous wave and it's mostly foam and bubbles, with a massive undertow.

fast freddy | Apr 16, 2017 2:52:32 PM | 19
Something biblical for Christians to ponder:

Everyone whom had died remains dead and knows and senses nothing. http://biblehub.com/ecclesiastes/9-5.htm

There is NO afterlife for ANYONE without the second resurrection which you await.

There is no purpose for a second resurrection if everyone who has died gets a free pass to a glorious afterlife.

Check it out.

Curtis | Apr 16, 2017 7:15:24 PM | 23
The Christians of the Middle East must be very resilient to withstand the onslaught.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-horrific-onslaught-on-aramaic-christian-community-of-maaloula-at-hands-of-western-backed-moderate-terrorists/5585352

james | Apr 17, 2017 12:24:33 AM | 24
thanks for the easter reminder, amidst everything else that is being focused on.. new beginnings which we surely do need... looking for new leaders to pave a new direction here at this moment and don't see anything on the horizon yet..
Curtis | Apr 17, 2017 12:44:41 PM | 31
It's shameful what has happened to Christians in the Middle East. In the west, I've only heard the Catholics say anything about this.
http://buchanan.org/blog/will-christianity-perish-birthplace-126816

[Mar 23, 2017] F@ck Work?

Notable quotes:
"... By Scott Ferguson, an assistant professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Humanities & Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida. His current research and pedagogy focus on Modern Monetary Theory and critiques of neoliberalism; aesthetic theory; the history of digital animation and visual effects; and essayistic writing across media platforms. Originally published at Arcade ..."
"... requirement ..."
"... You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone ..."
"... F-k Stupid Jobs with Bad Pay ..."
"... F-k Work ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on January 5, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. The reason I prefer a jobs guarantee (with an income guarantee at a lower income level) is that the time an income guarantee was implemented on an open-ended, long term basis, it produced an unskilled underclass (see our post on the Speenhamland system for more detail).

Moreover, the idea that people are brimming with all sorts of creative things they'd do if they had an income to allow themselves to do it is bunk. For instance, MacArthur Foundation grant recipients, arguably some of the very most creative people in society, almost without exception do not do anything productive while they have their grant funding. And let us not kid ourselves: most people are not creative and need structure and pressure to get anything done.

Finally, humans are social animals. Work provides a community. If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own.

By Scott Ferguson, an assistant professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Humanities & Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida. His current research and pedagogy focus on Modern Monetary Theory and critiques of neoliberalism; aesthetic theory; the history of digital animation and visual effects; and essayistic writing across media platforms. Originally published at Arcade

In the wake of Donald Trump's alarming election to the White House, historian James Livingston published an essay in Aeon Magazine with the somewhat provocative title, " Fuck Work ." The piece encapsulates the argument spelled out in Livingston's latest book, No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

In both his book and the Aeon essay, Livingston sets out to address several overlapping crises: an alienating and now exhausted "work ethic" that crystallized during the Protestant Reformation; forty years of rampant underemployment, declining wages, and widening inequality; a corresponding surge in financial speculation and drop in productive investment and aggregate demand; and a post-2008 climate of cultural resentment and political polarization, which has fueled populist uprisings from Left to Right.

What the present catastrophe shows, according to Livingston's diagnosis, is the ultimate failure of the marketplace to provision and distribute social labor. What's worse, the future of work looks dismal. Citing the works of Silicon Valley cyber-utopians and orthodox economists at Oxford and M.I.T., Livingston insists that algorithms and robotization will reduce the workforce by half within twenty years and that this is unstoppable, like some perverse natural process. "The measurable trends of the past half-century, and the plausible projections for the next half-century, are just too empirically grounded to dismiss as dismal science or ideological hokum," he concludes. "They look like the data on climate change-you can deny them if you like, but you'll sound like a moron when you do."

Livingston's response to this "empirical," "measurable," and apparently undeniable doomsday scenario is to embrace the collapse of working life without regret. "Fuck work" is Livingston's slogan for moving beyond the demise of work, transforming a negative condition into a positive sublation of collective life.

In concrete terms, this means implementing progressive taxation to capture corporate earnings, and then redistributing this money through a " Universal Basic Income ," what in his book is described as a "minimum annual income for every citizen." Such a massive redistribution of funds would sever the historical relationship between work and wages, in Livingston's view, freeing un- and underemployed persons to pursue various personal and communal ends. Such a transformation is imminently affordable, since there are plenty of corporate funds to seize and redirect to those in need. The deeper problem, as Livingston sees it, is a moral one. We must rebuff the punishing asceticism of the Protestant work ethic and, instead, reorganize the soul on more free and capacious bases.

Lest we get the wrong idea, Livingston maintains that social labor will not simply disappear in a world organized by a tax-funded Universal Basic Income. Rather, he envisions an increasingly automated future, where leisure is our primary preoccupation, social labor becomes entirely voluntary, and ongoing consumption props up aggregate demand. Eschewing utopian plans or prescriptions, he wonders,

What would society and civilisation be like if we didn't have to 'earn' a living-if leisure was not our choice but our lot? Would we hang out at the local Starbucks, laptops open? Or volunteer to teach children in less-developed places, such as Mississippi? Or smoke weed and watch reality TV all day?

Enraged over the explosion of underpaid and precarious service work? Disaffected by soulless administration and info management positions? Indignant about the history of unfree labor that underwrites the history of the so-called "free market"? Want more free time? Not enough work to go around? Well, then, fuck work, declares Livingston. Say goodbye to the old liberal-democratic goal of full employment and bid good riddance to misery, servitude, and precarity.

"Fuck work" has struck a chord with a diverse crowd of readers. Since its release, the essay has garnered more than 350,000 clicks on the Aeon website. The Spanish publication Contexto y Acción has released a translation of the piece. And weeks later, Livingston's rallying cry continues to resonate through social media networks. "Fuck Work" has been enthusiastically retweeted by everyone from Marxists and small "l" liberals to anarchists and tech gurus.

The trouble is that Livingston's "Fuck Work" falls prey to an impoverished and, in a sense, classically Liberal social ontology, which reifies the neoliberal order it aims to transform. Disavowing modern humanity's reliance on broadscale political governance and robust public infrastructures, this Liberal ontology predicates social life on immediate and seemingly "free" associations, while its critical preoccupation with tyranny and coercion eschews the charge of political interdependence and caretaking. Like so many Universal Basic Income supporters on the contemporary Left, Livingston doubles down on this contracted relationality. Far from a means to transcend neoliberal governance, Livingston's triumphant negation of work only compounds neoliberalism's two-faced retreat from collective governance and concomitant depoliticization of social production and distribution.

In a previous contribution to Arcade, I critiqued the Liberal conception of money upon which Marxists such as Livingston unquestionably rely. According to this conception, money is a private, finite and alienable quantum of value, which must be wrested from private coffers before it can be made to serve the public purpose. By contrast, Modern Monetary Theory contends that money is a boundless and fundamentally inalienable public utility. That utility is grounded in political governance. And government can always afford to support meaningful social production, regardless of its ability to capture taxes from the rich. The result: employment is always and everywhere a political decision, not merely a function of private enterprise, boom and bust cycles, and automation. There is therefore nothing inevitable about underemployment and the misery it induces. In no sense are we destined for a "jobless future."

Thus upon encountering Aeon Magazine's tagline for Livingston's piece-"What if jobs are not the solution, but the problem?"-I immediately began wondering otherwise.

What if we rebuffed the white patriarchal jargon of full employment, which keeps millions of poor, women, and minorities underemployed and imprisoned? What if, in lieu of this liberal-democratic ruse, we made an all-inclusive and well-funded federal Job Guarantee the basis for a renewed leftist imaginary?

What if we stopped believing that capitalists and automation are responsible for determining how and when we labor together? What if we quit imagining that so-called "leisure" spontaneously organizes itself like the laissez-faire markets we elsewhere decry?

What if we created a public works system, which set a just and truly livable wage floor for the entire economy? What if we made it impossible for reprehensible employers like Walmart to exploit the underprivileged, while multiplying everyone's bargaining powers? What if we used such a system to decrease the average work day, to demand that everyone has healthcare, and to increase the quality of social participation across public and private sectors? What if economic life was no longer grounded solely in the profit motive?

What if we cared for all of our children, sick, and growing elderly population? What if we halved teacher-student ratios across all grade levels? What if we built affordable homes for everyone? What if there was a community garden on every block? What if we made our cities energy efficient? What if we expanded public libraries? What if we socialized and remunerated historically unpaid care work? What if public art centers became standard features of neighborhoods? What if we paid young people to document the lives of retirees?

What if we guaranteed that Black lives really matter ? What if, in addition to dismantling the prison industrial complex, we created a rich and welcoming world where everyone, citizen or not, has the right to participation and care?

What if private industry's rejection of workers freed the public to organize social labor on capacious, diverse, and openly contested premises?

What if public works affirmed inclusion, collaboration, and difference? What if we acknowledged that the passions of working life are irreducible to a largely mythical Protestant work ethic? What if questioning the meaning and value of work become part of working life itself?

What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?

What if we radically affirmed our dependence on the public institutions that support us? What if we forced government to take responsibility for the system it already conditions?

What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?

Livingston's argument cannot abide such questions. Hence the Left's reply to "fuck work" should be clear: fuck that.

1 0 24 0 0 This entry was posted in Credit markets , Economic fundamentals , Free markets and their discontents , Guest Post , Income disparity , Politics , Social policy , Social values , The destruction of the middle class on January 5, 2017 by Yves Smith .
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Subscribe to Post Comments 131 comments BecauseTradition , January 5, 2017 at 4:58 am

Again the seemingly endless conflation of work, good, with being a wage slave, not so good. Progressives would do well to focus on justice and that does not include making victims work for restitution. One would think Progressives would wish to f@uck wage slavery, not perpetuate it.

Finally, humans are social animals. Work provides a community. If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own. Yves Smith

I solve that problem with volunteer labor at a local laundry. I do it ONLY when my favorite worker is there because I like her, she has a family to support, she is overworked, she is in constant pain from fibromyalgia, has carpal tunnel syndrome and because of the interesting people I get to see there.

How can I afford to do meaningful work for free? Because I'm retired and have a guaranteed income from Social Security and a small pension.

And let's be honest. A guaranteed job as opposed to a guaranteed income is meant to boost wages by withholding labor from the private sector. But who needs wages with an adequate guaranteed income?

cocomaan , January 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

I'll also piggyback onto this, even though I am not keen on basic income until I see a little more work put into it.

Many people aren't actually contributing anything in any given work environment in our current system. To expect differently if we have a guaranteed jobs program seems naive.

In the administrative structures I've worked under (both private and non profit, often interacting with government), many workers have obstructionist compliance responsibilities. Decisions are put off through nonsense data gathering and reporting, signatures in triplicate, etc. It's why I've become a huge proponent of the Garbage Can theory of administration: most of the work being done is actually to connect or disconnect problems from decision making. When it comes down to it, there are only a few actual decision makers within an organization, with everyone else there to CYA. That goes for any bureaucracy, private or public.

David Graeber has detailed the "bullshit jobs" phenomenon pretty well, and dismantles bureaucracy in his book, and says all this better than I. But the federal job guarantee seems like a path to a bureaucratic hell. Of course, an income guarantee for the disabled, mental, physical, otherwise, is absolutely critical.

Left in Wisconsin , January 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

There is no magic bullet, whether JG or UBI. But I think the author and Yves are absolutely correct in asserting that there is no workable UBI under the current political economy. It would by definition not meet the needs its proponents claim it could because private (and non-profit!) employers would scream about how it was raising labor costs and otherwise destroying the "real" "productive" economy. A UBI after the revolution? Perhaps. Before? Extremely problematic.

On the other hand, a JG that emphasized care work (including paying people to parent) and energy efficiency would meet screaming needs in our society and provide many people with important new skills, many of which would be transferable to the private economy. But even here, the potential pitfalls and problems are numerous, and there would no doubt be stumbles and scandals.

Jesper , January 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Two things:
1. Goverments can hire people without a JG, the argument that the JG is necessary for the goverment to find employees is therefore not a very convincing argument.
2. Increasing and enforcing reduced hours an employer can demand of a worker will strengthen the bargaining position of all workers. But the people advocating the JG appears to see the reduced hours of work as a bad thing? People get to meet people at work but the more pleasant interaction (to me) comes outside of work with the same people.

How many paid days off should a person in JG get? As many as Germans get? Or the Japanese? Or?
When can a person in JG retire? At 60? 65? 70? When does work in JG stop being a blessing and instead living at leisure is the bliss? Are we all to be assumed to live for work?

And finally: If income guarantee is too liberal, isn't job-guarantee too much of one of its opposites – totalitarian?

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Why on earth is a Jobs Guarantee totalitarian?

Jesper , January 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

most people are not creative and need structure and pressure to get anything done.

How does JG put pressure and structure onto people?

lyman alpha blob , January 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I think a combination of both would be best. As has been said many times here, a lot of current jobs are complete BS anyway and I don't really want to be guaranteed a job just so I can take the dirt out of Boss Keen's ditch and then put it back in.

Then there's automation which has already taken away a lot of jobs and will continue to do so. That's not a bad thing as long as people are still getting an income.

As there likely isn't enough productive work to go around, ideally there would be a UBI and instead of a job guarantee, have a minimal job requirement . That exact amount of work required could be tinkered with, but maybe it's a couple days a week, a few months a year, or something similar. You'd have to report to work in order to be able to collect your UBI when your work was no longer required.

When you're not doing required work, you can relax and live off your UBI or engage in some sort of non-essential free enterprise.

Yves Smith Post author , January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

I don't know what sort of fantasy land you live in. Being an adult means doing stuff that is not fun so that you and your family can survive. This is the nature of the human condition, from the hunter-gatherer phases of existence onward. You see to believe that you have the right to be paid for doing stuff you enjoy. And the sort of jobs you deem to be "bullshit jobs" would seem like paradise to coal miners or people who had to go backbreaking manual work or factory workers in sweatshops in the 19th century. Go read Dickens or Karl Marx to get some perspective.

Kurt Sperry , January 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Was this meant to be a reply to cocomaan's post? It seems like it's replying to something else.

If I understand "Bullshit jobs" aren't bullshit because they are unpleasant to do, but because they are to some significant degree unproductive or even counterproductive. Administrative bloat in acedemia is pretty much the gold standard here from my perspective. They are great jobs to have and to do, just useless, unnecessary, and often counterproductive ones. High rise office buildings are, I have always suspected, staffed with a lot of these well paid administrative types of bullshit jobs.

rd , January 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

The Civilian Conservation Corps is, to my mind, the single most important civilian jobs program of the past century because it provided millions of people meaningful work at a time when they could not get it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_Conservation_Corps

The military also provides a similar function to many people with no other way out of a poor situation. It is likely that one of the reasons that there was such a huge economic post WW II economic boom is because many people (men and women) learned discipline and skills in the military and industrial work places during WW II.

Problems with deadlines are the key drivers for productivity. If there are no problems defined with no deadline, then most people will simply drift. Occasionally a Faraday, Edison, or Einstein will show up who will simply endlessly grind through theoretical and experimental failures on ill-defined problems to come up with something brilliant. Even Maxwell needed Faraday's publications of his experiments showing electro-magnetic fields to get him to come up with his great equations.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 12:33 pm

The assumption that work (for profit) is good is very entrenched in culture. The argument that people aren't motivated to work (Americans are lazy) is disputed by the sheer amount of 'volunteerism' (unpaid labor).

Corporations are not going to give up on marketing jobs as they get the vast benefit of labors efforts.No one system works it will take employee ownership to counteract the negatives of private ownership and a ubi along with a job guarantee and expenditures on leisure to shift from a consumer based economy.

I always thought that people were supposed to argue for more than they want and then settle. Here the argument is always on the right side of the political spectrum capitalism and private ownership. Privatize schools and then use a transfer of wealth through taxes and a captured labor force to work in them?

swendr , January 5, 2017 at 5:27 am

Job guarantee all the way, as long as our bosses aren't dicks. We've already kicked people off of public assistance and into shitty underpaid jobs. If having a job is so important, there should always be a good one available. And anyone that can't or won't work can live off a limited basic income. Makes for a smooth and just transition too when our dirty, dull, and dangerous industries are shut down or automated out of existence.

philnc , January 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

Which brings us, along the way, to the need for meaningful educational opportunities for those who the system has heretofore failed.

Concrete case in point. My cousin is a young, single mom in central North Carolina who works hard but is just barely scraping by. Recently my wife and I decided to help her out by giving her the money she'd need to get broadband service so that she and her teenage daughter could take advantage of free, high quality online resources like EdX.org ( https://edx.org , check it out if you haven't yet). But actually getting her hooked up has been a challenge because the Internet provider Duopoly dropped their most affordable plans sometime last year (around $15/mo) so that the cost will now be a minimum of $40/mo before modem rental, taxes and whatever other fees the carriers can dream up (for the techs out there, even DSL costs $35/mo in that service area). This in a state where there's a law prohibiting local governments from providing Internet services to its citizens in competition with the Duopoly, and where a private initiative like Google Fiber has stumbled so badly that it actually has had a negative impact on price competition.

Of course you might say this is a first world problem, heck at least we have (semi) affordable electricity nowadays. But this happens to be a first world country, where big business pushes paperless constantly to cut its own costs and a semester in college is basically the price of a recent model preowned sedan, _every semester_.

So, a guaranteed job for everyone PLUS the resources to learns what's needed to obtain a job that's more than another dead-end.

P.S. Anyone who has ever tried to use free Internet services at their local library knows that's not a viable option both because of restrictive timeouts and bandwidth caps.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Bosses will be more likely to be dicks when their employees are a captured labor pool. If you don't comply with commands you'll be out of your 'job guarantee'.

jgordon , January 5, 2017 at 5:37 am

I support Yves' idea for a basic income as a default position for disabled people. Although I'll advocate for something a bit different if possible for the ambulatory: instead of a monetary income, let's provide free basic rations and solar panels, along with a small plot of land in a rural area, free gardening and household supplies, (including free seeds that are appropriate for the given area). And free classes in ecology, cooking, composting, soil management, blacksmithing, carpentry, appropriate technolies and any other good stuff I happen to think of.

As for what the guest poster wrote–well he seems like a good guy but this social justice warrior thing is a dying fad that'll provoke a very unpleasant counter reaction if it keeps up for much longer. I'm positive that Trump garnered thousands of votes in those vital Midwestern swing states thanks to the highly visible sjw activities on campuses, and theis backlash is only going to increase as this goes on.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

I have a son with a disability. Without a job, he would watch movies all day.

With a job he becomes a productive part of society. He loves it and he is dedicated. It also gives him the opportunity to bond with people which is hard when you don't have full autonomy because of some aspects of your disability.

From my personal experience, a large percentage of people with a disabilities would prefer a job to income guarantee.

And many would be quite happy with what most consider shit jobs.

Arizona Slim , January 5, 2017 at 9:56 am

Amen, Moneta!

My mom shops at a store that hires intellectually disabled people to do things like shopping cart roundups and bagging customers' groceries. These aren't the kinds of jobs that most of us would flock to, but that's our perspective.

Uahsenaa , January 5, 2017 at 10:25 am

I have to second this. Having worked briefly with developmentally challenged students, they have a much easier go of things when they feel empowered, when they feel like they have some control over their lives, despite the challenges they face. Rendering them even more helpless simply increases frustration and exacerbates existing problems.

Which I think should be brought into the larger argument. It surprises me that any Marxist worth her salt would glomp onto this, when, it seems, the purpose is to further alienate people from the means of production and control over the political economy. When Silicon Valley types and Charles Murray are arguing for it, you have to wonder what the underlying reasons might be. Murray never met a poor or uneducated person he didn't want to drive into the ground, so I find it rather curious that he would suddenly be all for a form of social welfare.

And as to the boss point above, there's nothing stopping anyone from making the jobs program have a cooperative structure. As the article says, these are all political choices, not naturally occurring phenomena.

Romancing The Loan , January 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

When Silicon Valley types and Charles Murray are arguing for it, you have to wonder what the underlying reasons might be.

My tankie friends on Twitter think that basic income is a trojan horse that's going to be used to try and trick the American public into ending Social Security and Medicare. They're usually right, sadly.

Stephanie , January 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

It seems to me as if basic income would also be a great excuse to chip away even further at the idea if public education and single-payer health care as social goods. If your parents aren't able to shell out for them, well, you don't need to be healthy or literate to recieve UBI.

lyman alpha blob , January 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

If there were both a UBI and a job requirement rather than a job guarantee, that might solve the problem you mentioned.

If everyone were required to work a certain amount in essential services like housing, food production, health care, etc before they could collect a UBI, that would require a trained and healthy workforce.

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Yep. The level will be set by the requirements for rental extraction, and nothing else. There will be no surplus over that amount.

RC , January 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

As a disabed person myself I would argue it's not jobs that disabled people are necessarily after, it's being able to actively participate in society in a contributing, meaningful and productive way, to be included in something with a purpose, a purpose you believe in. If income is not an issue, most people would still engage in projects. Your son would watch movies all day only because there is no better role to play, we are at a transition stage where disabled people, still considered invalids, are being discovered to be not so invalid.

I take issue with the notion that disabled people would be happy to do any deadend work. We deserve more and better than that, everyone does.

I'm a deaf person with a talent which fintech wants and needs, which so happens to be ensuring our tech is accessible, inclusve, making it so much better; so disabled people can truly participate in society, to do all the same things tech supposedly does to liberate while making it truly liberating for all.

But we are also socially responsible for finding meaningful and significant work for the talents disabled people actually have, as opposed to getting them to do something stupid because it's something to do and they're disabled and so should be satisfied with whatever they get. We're not vegetables, nobody is. So that goes for non-disabled folks too.

Which brings us to the heart of this UBI/JG discussion, either you're coming to this from a perspective of people should have jobs, any job, cuz they're basically vegetables or some kind of autonomous machination which goes through motions and capitalism doesn't work without those machinations so there's some kind of moral imperative to labour or wage slavery, and the measure or class of a person is whether they are jobbed machinations/slaves, or UBI/JG is secondary to the question of are people as a whole happy and doing what they'd rather be doing, are they truly participating in society, as part of the human project.

That's the reality most corporations are facing at the moment. The meaning and nature of "work" itself is undergoing change, becoming "play", as capitalism shoots itself in the foot and in the drive for profit either necessitates socialism and classlessness, or mass social upheaval and less profits.

RC

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Thank you. It gets tiresome that the default is people are lazy. People are describing what seems to be human nature . the desire to connect with others and to contribute.

Laughingsong , January 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm

After reading some of these arguments, and thinking about what I have experienced and seen, I think there are merits to both approaches (UBI and JG). From experience I can't entirely agree with Yves that people would remain unskilled and not pursue activities that engage with others and improve their lives and skills. Perhaps this is because I have always been fascinated by and have known many Hippy communities. I live in Eugene Oregon now, but grew up in San Francisco. The running joke I was told was that all the hippies left SF and came to Eugene because there were no jobs :-). I did see hippy groups in SF that did pretty much nothing but play all day. They didn't last. However, here in Eugene I see many lasting legacies of what they built after they "dropped out"; many if not most of my favorite businesses were created by these people: the alternative groceries like Sundance (supposedly Whole Foods was purported to model themselves after this store-bah!) and Kiva and Growers Market, the Saturday and Farmers Markets, Tsunami books. The Oregon Country Fair, the coops. Not all were directly started by "hippies" per se but the early hippy groups did much to create a culture and an environment that encourages this.

I also know a lot of people here that work "precariously" and there are times when work is hard to come by. But these people do not seem to sit around, they find other things to do, like learn about gardening, or get skills volunteering for Bring recycling (they do things like find creative re-use or "decom" houses slated for demolition and take out useful items), or Habitat for Humanity, or Center for Appropriate Transport (bicycle and human powered), or local tree planting and park cleanup. They often find work this way, and make connections, and get new skills. They don't have to But they want to stay active and involved.

This is why I think UBI is not such a bad thing.. I know many people who would benefit and still do many things like I've described I also am aware that there are more general tasks that society needs doing and that is where the JG might come in. But maybe Eugene is too much of an exception?

Of course, all this is besides what these policies may be used for by the PTB. That's an entirely different discussion; here I am arguing the merits, not the agendas.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

I was careful to use the word many and not all people with disabilities.

My son has an intellectual disability. He needs to be instructed and the routine will not come on its own unless it is well practiced. But as long as someone is directing, he does great work.

It is obvious by your post that the menial job he would enjoy does not correspond to what you could offer the world!

I spent hours holding him in the NICU, worrying about his future until one day, instead of feeling sorry for the both of us, I looked around and noticed a regular guy, apathetic looking, spending his entire day cleaning and disinfecting the room then the thought came to me that someone with special needs could do the same job and actually be happy.

Around that time, I read an article about the problems they were now encountering with the integration of people with special needs in France. It would seem that when the job became boring, many would just stop showing up to work Why bother when the state and society has always been there for support that's what happens when individuals never get to feel true independence.

Any action that produces a good or a service is a form of work. Hugging is a service. So are smiling and cleaning a toilet.

For some reason we have huge trouble putting monetary value on many of the most essential services.

We are also having a very hard time filling the jobs with individuals who have the right skill set and temperament.

I don't know how we solve these issues.

rd , January 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Amidst the miserable news of 2016, this uplifting story of a woman with Down's syndrome retiring after working 32 years restored my faith in the potential of humanity. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/08/29/down-syndrome-mcdonalds-retirement-freia-david/

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Oy .. make the disabled do hard labor of agriculture? Blind? Deaf around heavy machinery? Wheelchairs on plowed land?

You are proposing this as it seems enriching, gets them out of your community, and is economically sound. This lifestyle choice should apply to everyone. Let any who want do this and you will have removed people from the labor pool (made up unemployment number magically goes down) less resource consumption.

Marco , January 5, 2017 at 5:39 am

Thanks Yves for pounding this issue. As a former lazy BIG'er I am naturally wired to stare at my navel all day. I think at the heart of it we have an existential problem with toil. Tcherneva's succinct take-down of BIG vs JG also set me on the straight and narrow. Plus she spanks Yglesias which is always enjoyable.

Marco , January 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

My biggest quibble with JG is that "work" often involves needless consumption. Most people (in America) require a car and 1-2 dangerous hours a day getting to and from "work". Personally this is a very good reason NOT to work.

Leigh , January 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

1-2 dangerous hours a day getting to and from "work".

The reason I get to work 2 hours before I'm required to is because I find driving to work is the most stressful part of my day. I commute while the roads are quiet. The deterioration in driving etiquette is maddening. It is dog eat dog out there. The fact that we are all flying around at 70 MPH in 4,000 pounds of steel and glass is lost on most drivers.

dontknowitall , January 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

I think there should be an indicator on the dashboard showing the probability of surviving a frontal impact at your current road speed, people might slow down as they saw the number approach zero

George Phillies , January 5, 2017 at 6:12 am

"If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own."
People have all sorts of mental quirks, but to what extent do we rig society to handle them? As a justification for work, this one sounds expensive.

I Have Strange Dreams , January 5, 2017 at 7:01 am

We are social creatures. That's not a quirk, just a fact. The average work environment already has people with various "quirks". Some are chatty, some not. Not a big deal, no need for a radical redesign.

As for costs – unemployment imposes devastating costs in sickness, addiction, crime, etc. JG is a no-brainer. It's been tried with great success in Argentina. It works. There's a slogan for ya: Work Works .

roadrider , January 5, 2017 at 8:05 am

We are social creatures.

Well, OK, but we all vary in the level of our sociability. Some need people around them all the time others value their solitude and still others are in between.

That's not a quirk, just a fact.

One that you're overstating.

The average work environment already has people with various "quirks". Some are chatty, some not. Not a big deal,

Actually, it is a big deal since noise and lack of privacy are two of the biggest problems in today's workplaces, particularly those with "open work space" designs. I speak from personal experience here.

no need for a radical redesign.

Ummm, yeah, there actually is.

Massinissa , January 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Whether or not JG is the answer or not, there is most definitely a need for a radical redesign of the capitalist workplace

jgordon , January 5, 2017 at 8:15 am

I'd rather be out in the woods spending my time growing fruit trees. I hate people–and reading above about all the inspirational work the government would be giving me and the people I'd have to be around while while doing it left me wondering about whether or not going postal would be a good idea.

Secondly, the wishlist I saw above for everything the government is supposed to be doing to help people was pretty scary. Ehile the intentions might be good, power like this given to government never, ever turns out well for the people. As an example, let's say Scott waved his magic wand and suddenly Trump had all the power and authority he needed to accomplish everything on Scott's list today. Alright, now try to imagine just how awful the next four years would be. Not good!

Uahsenaa , January 5, 2017 at 10:32 am

I sympathize with the desire to just be alone and do your own thing–I'm like that as well–but I think you're missing an important aspect of the argument, one which Tcherneva makes more forcefully, which is that there is a knock on benefit of people being more engaged in public life: they are harder to politically disenfranchise. I wouldn't be surprise if one of the reasons why elites are so gung ho about UBI is that it would serve to further alienate people and fragment communities, thus preventing them from organizing anything like meaningful resistance to state power.

Also, Ferguson kind of already addressed this:

What if private industry's rejection of workers freed the public to organize social labor on capacious, diverse, and openly contested premises?

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 11:26 am

The problem with a JG and that line of argument, is that JG does not propose to engage people more in public life than an Unconditional Income, as an Unconditional Income is by definition, far more inclusive of all kinds of work that people may do for others.

You may even do things that nobody in a society approves of, with an Unconditional Income, like trying to prove that the world is round, not flat.

JG got nothing on enabling people to be active citizens. It's a policy to look backwards, or it's so inclusive that it's basically an unconditional income to everyone. You gotta be willed to take a long shot sometimes (increasingly often, looking at the world as it is today and might increasingly be tomorrow), to properly empower people so they can be active citizens.

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

As best I can tell UI doesn't engage people at all: by what mechanism does UI engage people "more in public life?"

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:46 pm

How about we have more public housing I would like to see boarding houses come back but another option could be monastery type living? There could even be separate ones for men, women and families that way you could select a monastery that is focused on agriculture and you could have space away from women.

Laughingsong , January 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I sometimes have incredibly vivid dreams. One of them I hade a couple of years ago was somewhat apocolyptic; something had happened (unknown) and I was in a dilapidated city of middlin' size. The blocks of cheek-by-jowl houses and storefronts were all boarded up. But I entered one and found that 1) they had been connected by knocking down walls between them, and 2) the Interior Of the block was completely open. All the buildings faced inward (no boarded windows) and that had been transformed into a Commons with gardens, vegetables, corrals, parklands, small outbuildings. Maybe something like that .

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm

It would never happen but eminent domain should apply to abandoned buildings. If it's been unused for x amount of years, it's raffled off for public use . housing, education etc. Heck, it could apply to manufacturing. If a corp wants to leave, don't let the door hitcha, but that building is going to the employees as a coop as competition is as good for the goose as it is for the gander.

I would imagine more people will be having dreams like yours if things keep declining and people try to imagine what's next.

jjmacjohnson , January 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

Actually I know a few artist who won the Guggenheim Award and I beg to differ. Art is not something that given bunch of money produces great work. It comes with time and time spent contemplating and thinking. Most of the artists who won had to work to pay the bills before. Many were teachers and many still are. There are so few fine artists who just make art. The 1980s really pulled the wool over non-artists eyes.

Case in point since getting the grant, not right after of course, Cara Walker made one the best pieces of her career. A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.

Plus she continues to teach.

timround2 , January 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

She won the MacArthur Foundation Award.

Yves Smith Post author , January 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Sorry, it was MacArthur Foundation grant winners who typically do not do much during the grant period. Fixing the post.

Disturbed Voter , January 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

Job guarantee maybe, but not corvee. We can have jobs for everyone, if we build pyramids. Forced labor is totalitarian. But entitlement and free lunches are destructive of society. Neo-liberalism involves entitlement and free lunch for some people, and for some countries (I see what you are doing to everyone else USA, GB, Germany, Japan). Entitlement isn't just for individuals. I love my work, as long as it is "sort of" a free choice. Economic necessity works for most of us, and while wage and debt slavery aren't fun, they are both better than chattel slavery.

I Have Strange Dreams , January 5, 2017 at 7:05 am

In a country like the USA, the only limit on socially useful, meaningful work for everyone is the will and creativity to do it. Off the top of my head I can think of more programs that could be implemented than people to fill them.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:26 am

I agree. But the problem seems to reside in the link between the services and the hard goods.

One is unlimited while the other is limited so the human tendency is to use money from the unlimited side and consume/stock up/hoard the hard goods creating a scarcity.

I don't see how we can solve that problem with property rights as they are protected now.

In my mind, land and resources would have to be a common good why should someone get the waterfront property or more arable land or pools of oil just because of a birthright or some other non sharing policy.

Going even further, why should some groups/countries benefit from resources while not sharing with others?

Lots of sharing problems to deal with nationally and globally before we get it right

For the last few decades, our system has been based on debt to income and debt to GDP. Those nations and individuals who loaded up on it did ok . so we did not think of the fair distribution of resources.

But now that debt levels are hitting what we consider ceilings we will be changing the rules of the game you know what happens when someone decides to invent their own rules in a board game midway through the game!

All this to say that even if we guarantee jobs the physical world of resources will constrain us.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm

There needs to be a shift from work and consumption to leisure. Leisure is infinite . walking trails, biking trails, parks, movies/music in the parks (our community puts up a big screen and a 150 or so show up with lawn chairs, snacks and blankets), art shows, community theatre, festivals, music, picnic areas, chess/checkers concrete tables .

I want to start a game library: sort of a pub/restaurant with games. Have a bite, beer and a game of scrabble. I like the idea of pub nites with quiz events. If there were public buildings, gathering spaces would not have to make a 'profit', public health would be the benefit.

schultz , January 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

"What if public works affirmed inclusion, collaboration, and difference? What if we acknowledged that the passions of working life are irreducible to a largely mythical Protestant work ethic? What if questioning the meaning and value of work become part of working life itself?

"What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?

"What if we radically affirmed our dependence on the public institutions that support us? What if we forced government to take responsibility for the system it already conditions?

"What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?"

First, thanks for this article – this is a good and interesting debate to have.

It makes me suspicious that the author's sort of trump-card, climactic 'takedown' of UBI is a series of questions rather than answers. Things which even the author can't figure out the answer to, apparently, so how can they expect UBI to have the answers.

Think about the answers (i.e. in terms of, policy changes to people's material lives) to the questions posed above. What would any of those policies look like? Who knows?

My point is, it's easy to make things (including UBI) look dumb by comparing them to impossibly high vague standards like "no limits to how we can care for one another."

If the author had a better more concrete, specific reason why UBI is bad, they would have used that, yeah?

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

In my view, Unconditional Incomes answer these questions without being wasteful of human life, and with being unconditionally pro-labor, as opposed to being conditionally pro labor as a JG would be. JG only empowers labor that is recognized immediately, by some body of people who do not represent the valuations of all who are part of society.

Unconditional Incomes recognize labor that only later might generate appreciable results, and it recognizes broad valuation of the fine grained process where it is societally worthwhile, as individuals perceive it. If understood as enablement and pay for all labor related time, unconditionally.

Pay beyond that would be representation of how much respect you command, how much you desire to obtain monopoly incomes, and how much you might hate a job. But not the labor value. That's what unconditional incomes can provide. To the guy writing open source for a greater benefit to many, to the hardworking construction worker whose job involves a lot of undesirable factors (for which he may demand additional comensation), to the superstar/superbrand owner who seeks to maximize customer awareness and monetization with a blend of natural and artificial marketing and monopolization strategies, and to the guy who strategically maximizes market incomes to do even greater things for society than what he could be doing with just writing open source.

On that note, thanks Amazon for pushing the envelope. At least for the time being. We can financially burden all of these market/rent incomes to provide unconditional (labor) incomes, to ensure that there's not too much emphasis on just cashing in on your good (brand) name and market position. Coca Cola is a prime example for what such a cashing in would look like. Customers are beasts of convenience, unless there's breakthroughs that radically improve on some process of delivery or production, that somehow isn't taken notice of by the big brand, before another active citizen takes the opportunity to compete by help of it.

tl;dr: No to turning society into a glorified Arnish settlement, yes to Amazon as it is today, though with a higher tax burden, yes to unconditional incomes, yes to political activism, independent research, parenting work, work for being a decent person among equal people that may look however like you chose.

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Its way back up there at the top:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/the-failure-of-a-past-basic-income-guarantee-the-speenhamland-system.html

BIG was tried before with disastrous results. When a BIG program can be proven to address its deep and complex past failure, it may be worth a try. I agree with Yves on when and where an IG is appropriate until someone somewhere test drives a better one.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Don't worry, most UBI experiments and proposals nowadays aren't 'Income Guarantees' but rather Unconditional payments to all, or Tapered negative income tax proposals (britain's RSA has a UBI equivalent NIT proposal like that at least), on top of which people could earn more. Only experienceing regular taxation or a modest clawback rate of the benefit.

UBI is commonly understood to not be a top-up to the same point for everyone as the speenhamland system was, which of course destroys motivation to expose oneself to a strenuous environment, when you can't actually get compensated for your troubles. Any sensible person would tell you that the speenhamland system was an insane offer to the people, it asked of people to work for free, basically.

As for UBI experiments, they're generally rather encouraging. Particularly this coincidental observation might give prove to be useful, if you're concerned about the timely restricted nature of pilot projects/experiments. http://www.demos.org/blog/1/19/14/cherokee-tribes-basic-income-success-story

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

By what mechanism does UI prevent employers from bidding down wages? As Yves post form last year says, "Taxes would therefore need to be increased to offset those effects. The best tax outcome you could expect would be a progressive tax on income. Thus the end result in a best-case scenario would be tantamount to a means-tested BIG, graduated so as to avoid any sudden cutoff for someone who wanted to work. Thus the result (whether achieved directly or indirectly) is likely to resemble Milton Friedman's negative income tax, with the zero tax rate set at a living wage level." Meaning the UI just pushes free money into an otherwise unchanged system incentivized from the top down to soak that money back up and out.

So pushing more money into the system just inflates the system while sustaining the ongoing upward redistribution.

Thus: "The trouble is that Livingston's "Fuck Work" falls prey to an impoverished and, in a sense, classically Liberal social ontology, which reifies the neoliberal order it aims to transform. Disavowing modern humanity's reliance on broadscale political governance and robust public infrastructures, this Liberal ontology predicates social life on immediate and seemingly "free" associations, while its critical preoccupation with tyranny and coercion eschews the charge of political interdependence and caretaking. Like so many Universal Basic Income supporters on the contemporary Left, Livingston doubles down on this contracted relationality. Far from a means to transcend neoliberal governance, Livingston's triumphant negation of work only compounds neoliberalism's two-faced retreat from collective governance and concomitant depoliticization of social production and distribution."

craazyamn , January 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

It sounds like it's is going to be a lot of work - to abolish work.

Who's gonna do all the work involved? LOL.

If you think of sub-cultures where nobody works - like ancient Roman nobles, Europes aristocrats, gang-bangers, southern antebellum planters– mostly they got into fights about nonsense and then killed each other. That is something to consider.

craazyboy , January 5, 2017 at 9:05 am

The crap jobs will be the easiest to get rid of, but then we won't have any necessary goods and services. The Romans knew this, which is why they had a pretty good run before collapsing.

OTOH, with so much more humanity getting their creative juices going, we could end up with lots and lots of art. There would be so much art, it would probably be given away for free!

Then there is the start your own biz path. I've been keeping an eye on our local self serve dog wash. The sign outside changed to "Self Service Pet Wash". Has me wondering what's that all about. Expanding the biz into cats, hamsters, parrots and turtles maybe? Good to see success in the entrepreneurial class, but then I wonder if that's really for everyone and there may need to be some larger organizational structure geared towards producing some more complex thing or service. Dunno, but that could be food for thought as a next step for analysis in this whole job creation subject.

craazyman , January 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm

If anybody actually expects to get paid for their "art", that's when all hell will break loose.

A self-service dog wash is interesting, but if you let a dog wash itself it may not do a good job. Dogs hate to get washed. I'm not sure if this is gonna work.

craazyboy , January 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Good point. But there is risk in business. Any businessman knows that.

cocomaan , January 5, 2017 at 9:06 am

Kwame Anthony Appiah talks about the end to duels in his book on Honor. It's interesting stuff.

One takeaway I remember is that the lower classes actually began to clamor for an end to the idea that murder was okay if you were in the upper classes, since dueling was a matter of challenging, preserving, and reifying an upper class. The other way to look at it is that the lower classes wanted in on the action.

It also ended when everyone was embarrassed and fed up that their leaders were slaying each other by night.

craazyman , January 5, 2017 at 7:36 am

Great philosophical thougths are cauught. In the Moderbator!

Even the moderbator is already working to thwart illumination and enlightenment. That should be a lesson of some sort. I'm not sure what though. That wouldd mean mental work. I'll do it but it's still kind of early. I'll do it later.

From Cold Mountain , January 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

Yup. There is a big difference between work in a Capitalist ecosystem and work in an Anarchistic ecosystem. In the first you have to ask for a Universal Basic Income and equality, etc. In the second there is no need to ask for it.

So maybe "F@ck Work" is really "F@ck Capitalism" or "F@ck Authoritarianism", but they just don't quite get it yet.

Carolinian , January 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

Agreed that what the author is really saying is f@ck capitalism. Pretending it's all about the current fad for neoliberalism ignores the reality that neoliberalism is simply old fashioned laissez-faire capitalism with better excuses. The problem with left utopianism is that human nature works against it. So the author's "what ifs" don't carry a lot of intellectual punch. What if we all loved each other? Well, we don't.

Personally I'd rather just have the BIG and the freedom. The Right may be just as paranoid as the Left when they claim all forms of government social engineering are totalitarian but there is a grain of truth there. Neither side seems to have a very firm grasp of the human problems that need to be solved in order for society to work.

JTFaraday , January 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

"neoliberalism is simply old fashioned laissez-faire capitalism with better excuses"

I think it has worse excuses, actually. No excuses. There is no excuse for the centrally managed wealth extraction in the name of "markets" that we have been seeing since Bill Clinton made nice with Goldman Sachs in the 1990s.

Pelham , January 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

While MMT correctly conceives of money as a limitless resource, what it doesn't take into account is the fact that continuing to allow vast accumulations of the stuff at the top of the economy inevitably translates into political power.

And I suspect that those with such power, principally the financial industry, will work assiduously to reinforce conventional notions of money as finite, which in turn enhances their power and their ability to profit from widespread misery.

Higgs Boson , January 5, 2017 at 9:15 am

That is the taproot of The Big Lie – keeping the masses convinced of money scarcity, which goes hand-in-hand with scare mongering on the national "debt". The delegitimizing of the national currency as worthless IOUs, mere "scraps of paper".

The .01%, who have accumulated political power through this con, will not just give it up.

It reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) anecdote about Queen Victoria hearing about Darwin's Origin of Species and asking, "Is it true?"

"I'm afraid so, your majesty."

"Well then, let's hope the commoners don't find out!"

UserFriendly , January 5, 2017 at 7:58 am

Great piece!!! Does anyone know of any proposals or white papers for a State or City wide Job Guarantee? Laboratory for democracy or something. I know the lack of a currency printer throws a wrench into the MMT aspects and clearly there would be migration affects greater than on a national scale, but I think that a state or local program would almost necessarily have to come before a national one, or at least would make the debate about a national one less arduous. This is something I am pushing with my state house rep (Raymond Dehn, who recently threw his hat in the ring for Minneapolis's Mayoral contest)

DanB , January 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

"What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?" MMT acknowledges that the availability of natural resources is a limit to money creation and, overall, economic growth. I wish this essay had addressed this issue, as I believe we are in the post-peak oil world and still not facing how this fact -peak oil when properly understood is an empirical fact to me- is dismembering modern political economies. Simultaneously, this destruction is proceeding in accord with neoliberal domination.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

And most of the time, when I see MMT, it seems to be associated with projects and investments that are incredibly energy and resource intensive.

Many MMT supporters seem to work on the assumption that the US will always have the right to consume an inordinate share of global energy and resources.

Alejandro , January 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It seems that many attempting to pigeonhole MMT, seem to not recognize the role of fiscal policy to regulate and modulate. Full employment need not correlate to consuming " an inordinate share of global energy and resources." IMHO, how the term "growth" is often used with and within "economics" seems misleading and disingenuous.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

And Trump has all the answers on how to modulate fiscal policy under MMT?

MMT will not help the people unless the right leaders are modulating.

Alejandro , January 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Its not about messianism it's more about recognizing that the constraints on the user are not constraints on the issuer of a currency.

fresno dan , January 5, 2017 at 8:04 am

It seems to me we have done that no work experiment for .OH, 70 years. Its called social security.
Maybe every single person on social security doesn't have as many friends as they should – the book "Bowling Alone" as well as many other publications about the isolation of modern society address what is a problem. But many people with jobs are isolated, as well as not getting social interaction on and off the job. I think if you asked the average social security recipient, the first thing they would want is mo' money, mo' money, MO' MONEY.

People on social security can work, volunteer, follow a hobby or take up one. In CA old folks used to be able to "audit" college classes, where you could attend for free but get no credit. Alas, no longer the case (as well as when I was young and went to college, it was dirt cheap – how did it get so frigging expensive?).
And to the extent old people are isolated, more money would do a lot to allow old people to take cruises and other activities that cost money and give people the opportunity to mingle. I imagine young people would do the same, especially if the stress of wondering where there income would come from was removed.

There were people at work who said they would never retire because they wouldn't be able to fill their time. I find that just sad. Somebody has to give these people something to do because in there whole lives they have never developed any interests?
I was very lucky to have a career that was interesting. It was also frustrating, difficult, and stressful, and besides the friends from work, there were also the assh*les. It was fine for 26, but it was time to move on. And though I thought about getting another job, I have found that not working is ..WONDERFUL.

B1whois , January 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

I also do not work, and I enjoy it. I need to find things to fill my days (other than NC), but this is complicated by not having competence in the local language. I could speed up my citizenship process by getting a job here in Uruguay, but I don't want to go back to a stressful life feeling like I don't have enough time to do interesting things. So learning Spanish is my job now.

Katharine , January 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

as many friends as they should

How about, as many friends as they want? There surely is no obligation to have some number defined by other people.

rusti , January 5, 2017 at 11:18 am

I think if you asked the average social security recipient, the first thing they would want is mo' money, mo' money, MO' MONEY .

And to the extent old people are isolated, more money would do a lot to allow old people to take cruises and other activities that cost money and give people the opportunity to mingle

I suppose it's a much larger ambition in many ways, but I've always thought that a more worthwhile aim than a basic income guarantee would be de-financialization. Private health care and car-based communities put people in the very precarious position of having to worry about their cash buffer for lots of basic survival needs. I live in a country with government-funded health care, and even though my income is a fraction of what I made when I lived in the US it would be easy for me to quit my job and live on savings for an extended period of time, since the only real expenses I have are food and housing, and the other necessities like clothes or bicycle repairs can be done on the cheap when one has lots of free time.

Public transit connecting libraries, parks, community colleges, and other public forums where people can socialize are much preferable to cruise ships!

Lee , January 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I too have for years now enjoyed and sometimes struggled with not having to work for money. While my ability to engage in many activities is currently limited by health issues, I have previously gone back to university and earned a degree, learned fine woodworking, volunteered as a charity fundraiser and done field work for the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone. I have also spent a lot of time reading, gardening, fixing up my old house, watching movies, political activity, fishing, motorcycling, the list could go on. However, to be honest, I do suspect that the years I did spend working and the earnings therefrom did lay a foundation upon which I could build an edifice more of my own choosing.

Gaylord , January 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

Make work more interesting and rewarding by directing it toward esthetic goals. Promote the arts and education at all ages. Put art, design, music, theater, & crafts back into the curriculum, identify people with special skills & talent, support them and provide venues for learning, exhibits & performances with low- or no- cost access to the public. Elevate culture to the epitome of human achievement in all walks of life and expand involvement. Discourage commercial television watching, especially for children.

jabawocky , January 5, 2017 at 8:12 am

I do wonder if there's a kind of circular argument to this piece, or at least there is a continuum between this job guarentee solution and the basic income. In one sense, it is said that people cannot be left to themselves to create because they just won't. So the solution is some kind of municipal creativity, an entitity which does the creating and then forces people to work on its projects in return for income. The more top down 'new deal'-like this is, then it looks like a JG system. If it can be bottom up, it more closely resembles a basic income.

diptherio , January 5, 2017 at 10:26 am

That's why my personal proposal for a JG incorporates aspects of Participatory Budgeting to determine what jobs are getting done by JG workers:

Basic Income vs. Job Guarantee

Clark Landwehr , January 5, 2017 at 8:21 am

There is little difference, in the real world, between sitting on a park bench all day and sitting in a cubicle filling out spreadsheets, because most jobs are already busy-work. So most people are already doing corvee labor in a totalitarian civilization: digging holes and filling them up again. In a typical office building, the only people who are doing real, productive work are the janitors and maintenance engineers.

Eureka Springs , January 5, 2017 at 8:31 am

I think it would take a long time, as in many generations, to begin to know who we are, what we would do and be without a Protestant work-ethic. It's almost impossible for most to imagine life in some other form just as it's impossible for most to imagine a democratic process, even within just one party. Idle time scares the beejesus out of so many people I know. I've watched people 'retire' and move to these beautiful Ozark mountains for decades and do nothing but destroy them, over and over again, out of boredom and idle guilt. I can't remember the last time I cut down a live tree for firewood.. since there are always mountains of forrest being laid to waste.

But we must face the fact most work is useless, crap, BS, and or outright destructive. MIC and Insurance come to mind immediately. To enforce human work for the sake of it is to perhaps destroy the big blue marble host at – at best an highly accelerated rate. If we keep making ourselves act like drones our world will continue to look like it's what we are doing / who we are. Just drive down any street America built post 1960 looking for something esthetically pleasing, somewhat unique, that isn't either mass produced or designed to fall apart in a few decades or less.

Or maybe with a jobs guarantee we should just outlaw bulldozers, chainsaws, 18 wheelers, private jets, dwellings/offices with more than four units, and large farm equipment.

If we are going to force labor then give every man and woman a shovel or a hoe with their HS diploma – not a gun, not an office for predatory FIRE purposes. That way we wont destroy ourselves so quickly.

Joni sang.. You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone . What about the people who never knew what was there to begin with? Will some of us live long enough to morn the passing of parking lots?

JohnL , January 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

Thank you. When a "job" means profit for someone else and more destruction, consumption, and waste, we fewer "jobs", not more.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

"A job at a decent wage, set by public policy, will eliminate at least 2/3 of poverty. we can then work on eliminating the rest thru compassion."

Doesn't strike me as morally agreeable to reduce the right to nature and ideas that anyone may reason to have, to a matter of compassion.

"This is the high road that can increase productive capacity"

Giving people an unconditional income and letting people earn money on top, could also increase productive capacity, and having a JG scheme in place might as well reduce productive capacity where it pretends to people that they're doing something important, when they're not. Overpaying work can be a disservice to the people and society alike. Let individuals themselves tell others how much they think something is worth, in respect and in monetary terms. We just need to equip people with money (that maintains relevance in relation to the aggregate of all money), for that.

The high road that can increase productivity is a commitment to enabling people as individuals, unconditionally, to make economic expressions, rooted in their rights to nature.

Octopii , January 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

WALL-E

financial matters , January 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

""Modern Monetary Theory contends that money is a boundless and fundamentally inalienable public utility. That utility is grounded in political governance. And government can always afford to support meaningful social production, regardless of its ability to capture taxes from the rich. The result: employment is always and everywhere a political decision, not merely a function of private enterprise, boom and bust cycles, and automation. There is therefore nothing inevitable about underemployment and the misery it induces. In no sense are we destined for a "jobless future."""

Wouldn't it be interesting if it took someone like Trump to get the fact that money is a public utility into the public mindset.

This is a strong and powerful tool. Seems like it could be up his alley.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

But Trump WONT do that. He's very much a super 1% elitist who thinks of people as winners and losers. He thinks the government is like a business that has to balance its books and "live within its means" (means = tax receipts + fees).

Trump is NOT an MMTer. He's closer to gold standard idiots in the GOP (whether they actually want the gold standard to return or not means nothing the idea that the federal budget needs to be balanced is 100% outgrowth of the gold standard dinosaur days so they are ALL goldbugs at core).

financial matters , January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Probably true, but he now has his hands on the biggest business around.

He has a lot of money available which could make him a popular and useful leader.

Michael , January 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

Great Article and food for thought.

I agree with many of the skeptical views above. In the endeavor to provide equitable incomes an underlying problem is who decides what industries or groups get funded from the taxes collected? Is there private capital? How do you keep certain people from manipulating the system to assure they can collect more wealth than someone else?

All of these might be questions may be resolved with strict laws, but I can recall in my childhood such laws and such cultures that assured a more equitable system, but these too were corrupted by people who wanted to "keep their wealth", because "they earned it", or inherited it ("Death to the Death Tax!").

This utopia sounds good on paper, but it appears to me that the execution is most times corrupted by the connected and powerful.

In any case the most difficult task in this process will be getting enough power to take any sizable wealth away from the "shareholders" , ie owners, to redistribute in a society controlled via media and laws by our lords and masters.

David , January 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

I think we need to remember just how modern is the concept of "work" is that's being debated here. In nearly the whole world a century ago (and still in parts of it today) people didn't have "jobs", they raised crops, tended cattle, caught fish, practised manual crafts, played a role in the community and family etc. and were in general productively occupied most of the time. Even with the factory system, and the beginning of paid employment, many of the workforce were skilled craftsmen with years of training and a high social status. The modern idea of a "job" as an unnecessary task carried out to gain money you don't need to buy things you don't want would have seemed incomprehensible. Indeed, there are parts of Africa today where a "job" is what you get to earn enough money to live on for a while and that's it.
The real problem then is a sense of purpose in life. There's some evidence that work can and does provide this, provided that work is minimally useful and satisfying. Certainly, the psychological damage from long-term unemployment as well as the psychological dangers of working alone are extensively documented. But the opposite is also true – work can make you ill, and the line between guaranteeing work and forcing people to work is a treacherously easy one to cross.
It would be better to move towards thinking about what kind of society and economy we want. After all, much of the contemporary economy serves no useful purpose whatever, and could be dispensed with and the assets invested elsewhere. Without getting into the magic wand thinking in the article, it must be possible to identify a host of things that people can usefully "do", whether or not these are "jobs" in the traditional sense.

Katharine , January 5, 2017 at 10:57 am

You're onto something here. Reading the post and comments, I couldn't identify what was bothering me, because when I think of work now (having been out of the paid workforce a while) I think in terms of things that make life more livable, either in very practical ways or through learning, enlarging my view of the world, and I don't in the least want to see the elimination of that kind of work. It's the other kind of work, that expects you to feign devotion to the manufacture or marketing of widgets, that probably needs to be largely eliminated (I won't say wholly, as there may be some for whom widgets are mentally rewarding). The author seems too certain of what needs to change and how. I think you're right that we need to give it more thought.

akaPaul LaFargue , January 5, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The author of this review misses much of what James Livingston is all about. JL spends some time discussing how to imagine a meaningful life and he refers to Freud (!) that we need work and love. If work is no longer available then how do we imagine love as the basis for social solidarity? OR, is solidarity another way to express love? The author's concerns for wonky policy BS takes us down the wrong path into the scrubland of intellectual vapidity.

And btw Fred Block has devastated the Speenhamland analogy long ago. I think not many folks have gotten beyond Andre Gorz on these topics.

Massinissa , January 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Yeah, I'm sort of skeptical of BIG myself, but I really don't think Speenhamland is a good comparison at all. Speenhamland had too many particularities that separate it from most modern BIG proposals IMHO.

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

It would be helpful if you'd list some of those particularities.

River , January 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I think we need to remember just how modern is the concept of "work" is that's being debated here. In nearly the whole world a century ago (and still in parts of it today) people didn't have "jobs", they raised crops, tended cattle, caught fish, practised manual crafts, played a role in the community and family etc. and were in general productively occupied most of the time

Too true. If you want to see what someone's ancestor most likely did, look at their last name. Tanner, Cooper, Fuller, etc.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

People used to have a right to land with which they could harvest building supplies, roofing supplies, food to feed themselves, fuel to heat and cook, raise livestock for food and fiber. The people have been stripped of the rights and ability to provide for their basic needs by force. They now have to have a job, the majority of their labor benefits someone else, to gain money in a system where nearly every transaction isn't just monetized but exploitative.

There is still the pull towards liberalism . to develop a hierarchy of needs, and a hierarchy of the usefullness/productiveness/profitability of tasks. There needs to be a ubi along with the jg. When the focus is on developing hierarchies, the end result will be a rigid bureaucratic structure and the use of force to ensure compliance.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

"What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?"

To do this, I propose that we give everyone, unconditionally, an income, as expression of their potential (and natural desire) to contribute to society, and all the prerequisite time that goes into that, and for the very contributions themselves. An unconditional labor value derived income, for all. An income that both enables all kinds of work, and pays that labor value in the same stroke.

From there, additional earned income becomes a matter of how much respect you command, how well you utilize monopolies, and how much you hate your job and require compensation for how much you hate it. But the labor value would be accounted for, unconditionally.

In a world where there's superstars (and superbrands) who command respect and natural monopolies to make a lot of money, and people writing open source for the greater benefit of everyone else predominantly, it makes sense to make a statement such as that, about labor value, and to pay it to everyone. Mothers and fathers in active care of their children too, could agree, I'd imagine.

But making a list of things that you think might be cool for society, and try to have tangible compensations for only those, seems problematic, if not to say, counterproductive. Rather recognize ALL the time that people spend, to be decent people among fellow people, to educate themselves formally and informally, be it in the process of being an entrepreneur in a broader sense, at times. A sense of justice that can only be achieved by the state deciding for its people what is purposeful, will fall flat on its face when it comes to practicality, unless we have artifical super intelligence. Because you will have to literally know better than the people, what they will appreciate to what extent. And you don't know that. Neither do I.

There's great things in community/entertainment space happening today, that nobody was thinking of 5 years ago. Because people still have some power to recognize things as individuals, that others do, as purposeful (as much as aggregate demand is increasingly in a sorry state, as the result of a 3+ decade long trend that seems to still keep going. Just fixing that issue would already help a lot.). I say we should build on that, and further empower people in that direction. Which to me means to give money to all the people of the society, so they can more directly at times, express what benefits society, that is themselves. And for macro economic/long term considerations we can always have direct democracy.

Schwarmageddon , January 5, 2017 at 11:31 am

The sorts of psychopaths that tend to be in control of modern human societies clearly prefer money as a tool of social control to money as any sort of public utility that would facilitate individual productivity and/or affirm human dignity, whether in the context of neoliberal derangement or not. That's the view from the long-frozen Rust Belt and certainly nothing new in history.

It also appears that any human capacity for moral innovation is easily constrained by our basic feces-hurling primate OS, particularly if said primates consider money to be something finite and concrete.

On the real balance sheet, though, the sweet old Earth likely can't afford a JG for a population of 7 billion, at least not under any current or previously existing model of labor exploitation. As all NCpeeps know, we're resource-constrained, not dollar-constrained.

So we arrive back at the same old power relationships, the coercion, desperation and ecocide to which we have been accustomed, in the absence of any disruptive® (!) moral innovation. Can anyone suggest that modern humans have demonstrated a capacity for moral innovation outside of prison camps? Actual, non-hopey-changey varieties of moral innovation? If so, is that capacity retarded only by misperceptions regarding the nature of money? Retarded perhaps by an exceptional propaganda system? One might only answer that for themselves, and likely only until the SWAT team arrives. It seems unlikely that some rational and compassionate bureaucracies will be established to compensate in their stead: Congress is wholly unable to formulate policy in the public interest for very good reasons, none of them admirable. It seems the social economic entities they protect require human desperation just as much as they require currency liquidity or juvenile male soldiers.

In the absence of representation, rule of law or some meager rational public policy, a reproductive strike may be a better individual approach than FW, as not having children avoids the voluntary provisioning of debt slaves into a corrupt and violent system of social control. There is also the many ecologically salubrious effects of less humans and a potential opportunity to avoid being forced to constantly sell one's labor at a sharp discount. Couples I know, both having made catastrophic errors in career choice (education, research, seriously OMG!), are able to persist with some degree of dignity only and precisely because they have avoided begetting, in the very biblical sense, more debt slaves.

Shom , January 5, 2017 at 11:48 am

The author's contention that JG is better than BIG is persuasive; however I am not convinced that JG is best implemented by the govt. We have had systems like these, e.g. USSR, and it is very clear that central planning for large masses never works.

Why not implement that JG as saying that the govt guarantees X $/hr for up to T hrs per week for every one, no matter where they are hired. Advantages:
– small business owners are afforded breathing space to get their dreams off the ground,
– Walmart workers will walk off if Walmart doesn't up its game significantly beyond $(X x 4T) per month,
– Non profits will be able to afford to pay volunteers more reliably,
– People who want to be alone / not work can setup their own "self preservation" business and earn the minimum $X/hr for T hrs.

This form of decentralized planning may help implement JGs in a more sustainable manner than centralized planning. It also puts a floor on minimum income. Also, when combined with barriers on moving jobs outside the US, it helps provide a sharper threshold on how good automation needs to be in order to replace labor.

X and T can be the $15 and 40 hrs that is being implemented in big coastal cities, progressive states. Or it could be set to just above poverty level earnings, depending on how comfortable we are in letting go of our Pilgrim/Protestant shackles.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Past time to kill off the Protestant Ethic. The future has always supposed to be made up of robots doing scut work while people get to chill out and NOT do shit work.

The job race is why people STILL don't take enough vacation or full vacation. It is why they feel COMPELLED to not take days off because if they do, their boss will hold it against them come promotion time.

Not all jobs are worth doing and forcing people to take them doesn't do anyone any good, and makes people into commodities, THE biggest problem with neoliberalism. People are NOT commodities and work should NOT be a measure of one's value. CEOs outrageously overvalue themselves for doing little or nothing while engineers and workers they mistreat do EVERYTHING. That is neoliberalism and capitalism in a nutshell.

Guaranteed Basic Income ends that. Set a max income so there will be no more over-compensated CEOs AND provide a decent income for EVERYONE, gratis, so they are not forced to take a job polishing the shoes of the useless eater CEOs.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I prefer the Universal Basic Income guarantee to the Work guarantee. The Work guarantee guarantees MAKEWORK . "Here, have a broom and do some sweeping with it. Somewhere."

Or, "Here's a desk and a pile of papers with staples in them. Remove the staples."

"You! Toss this box of trash in the street and you, walk behind him and pick it up and put it in THIS box!"

Fuck work. In particular, fuck MAKEWORK. A job, ANY job, just to say you have a job is CRAP.

Better: Income guarantee. Period. Gratis. If a company wants you to do a job for them then they will have to provide incentive enough to get you to take the job. You don't HAVE to take a shit job because you have a guaranteed income so employers better offer a sweat deal like good pay and benefits (and LESS pay and benefits for CEOs, etc the lazy do-nothing self-entitled class).

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I hear the make-work talking point over and over again. It's nonsense. It didn't happen where the job guarantee was implemented , and it doesn't have to happen if the work is under democratic control.

Adam Eran , January 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

The basis of job guarantees would universally empower or improve the public realm–shared goods.

The "anti-collectivist" propaganda that dominates most mainstream media now forbids anything but public squalor and private opulence.

We work to construct a pyramid of Democratic skulls , January 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

The basic income and the job guarantee are natural complements. In terms of the acquis that any sovereign state must comply with (the UDHR,) you have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [your]self and of [your] family, and the right to free choice of employment. Two different rights. That means work should be an option.

The idea is, you're not on the treadmill, it's the state that's on the treadmill, working continually to fulfill your economic and social rights. It's t