Electric Politics
 
Donate to Electric Politics
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank
Green Party USA
Blank
Socialist Worker
Blank
CoffeeGeek.com
Blank
Grist
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Whole Foods
Blank
Ben & Jerry's
Blank
Al Jazeera English
Blank
911Truth.org
Blank
Sierra Trading Post
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Black Commentator
Blank
Pluto Press
Blank
In These Times
Blank
USNI
Blank
In These Times
Blank
CASMII
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
CounterPunch
Blank
News For Real
Blank
News For Real
Blank
If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger
Blank
News For Real
Blank
The Agonist
Blank
The Anomalist
Blank
Duluth Trading
Blank
Digital Photography Review
Blank
New Egg
Blank
Free Link

EP PODCASTSXML

April 20, 2012

The Virtue of Protectionism (and Class Warfare)

Chalk 'Made in USA' barcodeIt's a vicious circle. Financialization. Profit maximization. Offshoring. Political dysfunction. To start with the offshoring part, the American economy will wither and die without good industrial jobs. The numbers don't add up otherwise and the numbers don't lie. But thanks to money, corporations prefer things the way they are, as do politicians. Making matters worse, academicians who study such things mostly haven't got a clue. It's refreshing, then, to get the full, unvarnished truth from an insider's insider. Dr. Ralph E. Gomory was the head of research for many years at IBM and is President Emeritus of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Currently he's a research professor at NYU. To cut to the chase, Ralph believes that protectionism would be good for America. And he goes much further, to say that the banner of (non-violent) class warfare should be proudly unfurled. I agree! Total runtime forty nine minutes. Cantābit vacuus cōram latrōne viātor.

Listen

« Ocean Acidification | Main | Summa Economica »



Comments


I would agree with his third rule to some extent: in his example, the corporate point of view is certain coherent and consequential; hence they are not "stupid." However, their rejoinder doesn't deal with the premise that their activity is bad for the country. The rejoinder that their activity is beneficial for them really avoids the issue. In that sense, it is a kind of "narcisssism" or "self-centeredness," that blinds them to the very real evils they are committing — hence "stupid." This is because the one side is human beings thinking like human beings, while the other side is functioning as mouthpieces for corporations and their interests. Now corporations are in a sense machine-like contexts and "interests," which determine certain human behaviors very strongly; they are not "persons," obviously despite the terrible legal context in which they operate in our country. Hence in this sense they are not valid interlocutors or "opponents." People are end not means; corporations in the total context of a human society are properly means and not ends.

"We're letting Asia takeover."

I think, to the point, that we are letting the corporation take over.

It is the machine making humans means to its ends.

Politically, it amounts to tyranny and a total concentration of wealth and power.

Here's a little example of ends and means. Back in the 70's, Westinghouse was a bad boy in Indiana and littered the ground with toxic waste which in turn threatened crops and water. Now the corporate executives themselves, and their families were being victimized by this creeping poisoning of their environment; and yet, the corporation couldn't "hear" the outcries of the citizenry until they lost a legal suit and had to pay. This is the kind of nuttiness we operate in, and what I mean by corporate machines dehumanizing and determining human behavior, turning humans into means.
=========
This was a great interview. Very important. And I think that your insights regarding the initial defects in our system are very real, all the more so as we are no longer an agrarian society of small villages. The system simply makes no sense and is pure mythology. Terms like"democracy" simply make no sense any more in the context of vast urban conglomerations and corporate interests of immense scale and power, which include the media propaganda mills, and where the public discourse is in reality a chaos of opinion, basically a Tower of Babel.

I draw readers' attention to this Web app, which is at least a first step towards meeting Dr. Gormory's rating proposal:

http://www.goodguide.com/#

I have it on my ipod, and find it quite handy, if a little light on the society side.

The best interview you've ever done. Dr. Gomory's analogy of automobiles vs. opera singers is perfect. It distills the catastrophe of "Free Trade" down into an easily understandable, easy to communicate message. It gets right to the heart of the matter.

Bravo, George.

[Thanks! g.]

It occurred to me this morning that consumer power seems much more likely to tame the 1% than political power. Corporations do react rather well to potential loss of market share, and it is very hard for them to control it. And consuming has taken over from laboring as what the 1% most needs from the rest of us.

If everyone got behind apps like Good Guide, I suspect it wouldn't take long to get some compassion back into the system. Selfish, greedy = no sales. Sounds good to me.

Great interview! I'm going to follow up on Dr. Gomory's book and articles at Huffington Post.

Three comments:

— Dr. Gomory's wonderful insights and approach, while "unorthodox" in the economics community, are not unique. Check out John Michael Greer's "The Wealth of Nature." (He'd also make a great guest.)

[I recently caught up on this season's (excellent) shows and I'd make the same comment on the Feb. show with Christine Desan. Her book will be interesting but this is nothing new; it's discussed extensively — without the legal underpinnings — in Greer's book, among others.]

— Energy and the environment need to be brought into the discussion. (Charlie Hall's new book "Energy and the Wealth of Nations" is, given his other work, probably a great introduction.)

— Finally, while corporate objectives and American political structure may have changed over the years, I'm not sure there's a dramatic difference from their inception/intention. Morris Berman's recent book "Why America Failed" postulates that America has always been a nation of hustlers and Doug Rushkoff's "Life, Inc." traces corporations (and non-local money) back to the end of the middle ages.

Listened 3 times; Gomory is spot on. Especially his rule #3.

Free trade/fair trade is a loaded lie perped by the Capitalists.

One only has to see with true eyes to know the truth of that.

Leave a comment