Posts Tagged ‘Capitalism’

Addendum To Denial

January 11, 2021

            In the previous post, Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor (1-8-21), Analysis makes the claim that Kent Mallett’s report (East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter, 1-8-21) was really more about the “growing homeless population” than about the former Family Dollar store recycling into the new St. Vincent’s thrift store. A report by Melody Hahm appearing in Yahoo Finance (who knew?) gives a curious insight without the absurdity of “counting the homeless,” since we know that few will be inclined to self identify as “homeless.” Most are inclined to self identify as middle class, though they are not. So all you “middle class” out there, perk up. Hahm’s report is about you. Entitled “Middle-class homeowners will get ‘priced out permanently’: real estate investor Grant Cardone” it spells out the current road to the American dream paved with, well, Capitalist intentions. “The number of homes for sale reached an all-time low in December, as buyers remained active and eager to buy even during the holiday season.” “But given the low inventory and the quick turnaround of homes, middle class Americans are finding homeownership more inaccessible than ever, according to Grant Cardone, a real estate investor who manages a $1.4 billion portfolio of multifamily properties and also stars in Discovery Network’s (DISCA) reality series, “Undercover Billionaire.” “The middle class are going to get priced out permanently. The great divide will get wider, wealthy people are picking up second and third homes like most people buy Skittles or the way we were buying toilet paper back in March. The average person is not able to grab a house today. After the pandemic, the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” he said during an interview with Yahoo Finance Live on Friday.” ““It’s going to get more and more difficult for people to buy homes in the lowest interest rate environment we’ve ever had, the middle class will not be able to take advantage of this. This validates the concept which I’ve been pushing… cash is trash and the wealthy are turning cash into real assets,” he added.” That helps shed some light on the current state of housing in Denial, er, Newark Ohio. For those unable to afford the flight to the far west side with its exceptional schools, there is only what remains in the already previously “developed” city. Aspiring homeowners who can’t afford the flight to the west side find themselves in competition with “the wealthy [who] are turning cash into real assets” – rentals. The percentage of rental stock available in Denial, er, Newark increases as a consequence of the flight to the far west side. Newark already has almost half its residential housing as investment property (non owner occupant). If “the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” then rents themselves will be high. And rentals also demand background checks. No, not that a pandemic is in your background. Rents will be high since the alternative is to compete with the Capitalized landlord. Like the coldest days of winter to be, the flight to the far west side of Denial, er, Newark as a solution to its housing shortage contributes to a “growing homeless population” as a consequence.

Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor

January 8, 2021

            Decades ago in Australia’s capital of Canberra (or thereabouts) there was a native people’s demonstration aimed at renaming the central plaza with its aboriginal name. By the most guileful of means, the existing “colonial” signs were replaced with ones bearing the “pre-colonial” name of the place. Something analogous ought to happen in Newark Ohio. In the midst of all the media outrage posted regarding the events in our nation’s capital (as Gomer would say; “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.”) Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined: East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter (1-8-21). “The Evans Foundation, working with Newark Development Partners and the now-defunct Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, purchased the building in late 2019 and leased it to the city of Newark as a location for a low-barrier shelter serving the area’s growing homeless population.” The buried lead here is “growing homeless population”, not “building.” Mallett further expounds, later in the report: “The state’s annual count of homeless later this month will provide more data, but Tegtmeyer [Deb Tegtmeyer, director of the Licking County Coalition for Housing] said the problem seems to have gotten worse. “The feeling is that it has increased, primarily for single adults, Tegtmeyer said. “The waiting list for families is short, because funds are available for them. Single adults are kind of a bigger challenge. With the moratorium on evictions (extended to the end of the month), we’re trying to get a handle on what might be coming.”” Factually, the coldest part of winter is coming. But Analysis digresses. Leading civic leaders of Denial involved with the purchase/lease back in 2019 were also interviewed by Mallett. “Sarah Wallace, chairwoman of the Evans Foundation, said the time had come to do something with the building at 200 East Main St. “I worry because it’s been vacant all this time and no concrete plans have been made,” Wallace said. “We just can’t let it sit there vacant. It’s not good for anybody. The longer a building sits vacant, the worse it is. “I’m excited to get it into use for the community. The St. Vincent de Paul Center is busting at the seams and they are in the business of serving the homeless.”” Indeed! Analysis would have preferred hearing something more like “I worry because people have been without shelter all this time and no concrete plans have been made, We just can’t let them be homeless. It’s not good for anybody. The longer people are without shelter, the worse it is.” But then again, with Denial’s downtown redevelopment and all, it is Capital first (and capitalized!), people much later. Analysis digresses again! “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said converting the building into a shelter failed because of a lack of funding. “It’s still premature to say how we’ll go forward,” DeLawder said. “We need a sustainable funding source to operate a shelter, and we haven’t found a solution to that. We haven’t seen anybody raise their hands and say we can help on a regular basis. We’re really stymied.”” That’s showin’ ‘em leadership, Dan. Throw in the towel after receiving the first punch on the nose. Funny the NDP hasn’t quit with its Arcade project, purchased in Denial the same year as the Family Dollar building. Further digression, mutter, mutter. And finally, the mayor of Denial, formerly a chief proponent of shelters as long as they aren’t located within the city limits, let alone in the heart of Denial (where his office resides); “The mayor applauded the effort of the Evans Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul, and said the effort to help those suffering with homelessness continues. “I fully support the reuse of that building,” Hall said. “St. Vincent de Paul does a wonderful job in the community helping those less fortunate and getting needed supplies for those in the area. “They acquired (the building) in case it worked out to be a homeless shelter. The building doesn’t make or break a plan. It’s complex and challenging in a lot of areas. It’s not an easy fix and not reliant on one building.”” One less lease to clean up after. One less egg to fry. Welcome to Denial Ohio, Jeff Hall Mayor.

Newark Ohio Iconoclash

June 21, 2020

In past posts Analysis has been following the current Iconoclash rather marginally. Nationally (and internationally) the monuments and names keep coming down, the latest being Monmouth University’s building named in honor of Woodrow Wilson. No such bounty of figurative sculpture or names to be found in Newark Ohio; mostly religious icon’s or heroes of industry found on church or business private property. Why’s that? The bronze figures around the square are a pre-MAGA visualization of life as it ought to be; more a tribute to the effectiveness of Walt Disney “in reverse” surveillance technology (if you are good, Mickey will smile on you) than celebrations of any specific person or individual. And the building names, or buildings themselves? Analysis began this blog over 7 years ago enumerating who owns downtown Newark. Most properties are gov’t, church, or corporate owned, with many corporate entities established for that specific property ownership. Ditto building names. The culture has been efficiently anaesthetized through the removal of any structure strongly evocative of history, or the repurposing of those deemed “interesting.” The blog followed the demise of the old Children’s Home on East Main Street, and the repurposing of the downtown Gazebo as replacement. And what of the Roper factory smokestack, the railroad roundhouse, or the east end hospital? Evidence of the city’s actual history has been erased and replaced by branding icon’s like the Basket Building, Canal Market (next to the moldy old county jail), and The Works (Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology). The “branded history” names follow the same “made for general audience consumption” fantasy history as the bronze figures scattered around the square. Yet nationally (and internationally) the statues and names keep coming down. The Iconoclash grows more intense, threatening to topple a Presidency. The optimists point to all this as a beginning, the beginning of a genuine conversation of history, race, and the continuous effects of slavery. An uncomfortable conversation to be had, we are told. Certainly not what one would celebrate with bronze figures around the Newark Courthouse Square. Why Not? The history of slavery and the US, both AS the US as well as with the creation of the US, is premised in a conversation far more uncomfortable than race. THAT conversation IS celebrated continuously around the Courthouse Square in downtown Newark. No matter the volumes of philosophic tomes justifying the rational legitimacy of private property ownership (9/10ths of the law), in the end it comes down to the history and origins of Capitalism. At some point, somewhere, Capitalism requires that something has been acquired from nothing, which allows for the establishment of property and value; whether it be the resources of an entire continent where the inhabitants are not considered human, or labor as a resource, by being considered as owned property (or indentured — as family). Something must cost nothing (be there for the taking, with or without guile). And it is this “costs nothing” which makes the conversation so uncomfortable, and uncertain, in Newark Ohio.

If That Just Don’t Beat All

May 5, 2020

The front page of the online edition of the New York Times for Tuesday, May 5, 2020 was an accurate barometer of the contemporary situation. On the left hand side the NY Times headlined “Infection Rates Show the Threat of Coronavirus Is Not Fading.” The top story line beneath the headline read “The U.S. is seeing at least 25,000 new cases per day, an increase of 2 to 4 percent. There have been more than 1,000 daily deaths for over a month.” On the right hand side, sharing equal billing was the headline “Wall Street set to gain amid signs of optimism.” The reflection of today was not limited to the NY Times exclusively. The same day The Wall Street Journal headlined an article with “Why Home Prices Are Rising During the Pandemic”. Again same day, different news source, USA Today headlined “Essential worker just means you’re on the death track”. The headlines for today are as polarized as the politics that surrounds them. Ohio’s Governor Dewine’s daily update on the Covid 19 situation in Ohio showed an increase in cases along with an increase in mortalities. As of this writing Licking County increased to 133 from a previous day’s 130, and the previous to that 114. Yet contrary to the Governor’s initial rationale for nixing the Arnold, halting the March primary and closing public institutions, etc., all systems are go for reopening, without the curve ever reaching a peak. It doesn’t matter? Or is something else at play here? During the Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s it was the simplistic “supply and demand” explanation. During the Reagan recession of the 80’s it was “too many dollars chasing too few goods.” In the 90’s it was the dot com bubble with its enterprising entrepreneurs self justifying mega dividends. W’s regime righted itself with a war economy after 9/11. The chickens came home to roost with his end of term meltdown on the bundled, junk sub-prime securities. B Rock rescued everything through compensating the source of the loss with the mantra of “we can’t let the system fail.” And now this. THIS appears to be the complete unbridled, shameless operation of the market with no other considerations. There is no rhyme or reason, no attempt to justify or rationalize any of it (“Supply and demand” or “too many dollars chasing too few goods” etc.). Those accustomed to making money off whatever situation find no difference in the current situation. Those who always had to pay, no matter the situation, find no difference today except that now it also includes paying with their lives. The polarization reveals itself for what it is: the US as an economy versus the US as a society.

Questions

March 29, 2020

Today the inhabitants of mother earth are asking questions which have no answers. Analysis has found this to always have been the case, only today the earth’s inhabitants are keenly aware of it. The status quo has always been questions without readily available answers. In a heightened state of consciousness, the status quo becomes news. NPR reports that the national approval rating of the US President’s handling of the Covid 19 pandemic is at 58%. WKYC reported like numbers for Ohioans. Reuters reported that the residents of Wuhan China have been allowed to venture out after being under virtual lockdown. The question remains as to what percentage of people in  the US, along with the citizens of Ohio will quit self isolation if and when the US President says it is safe to do so? The state of New York has joined a long list of other states to defer their primary election until June 2, 2020. Ohio legislators opted for a mail in primary, April 28. The census is also begging for an online/mail in response. With other things on its citizens’ minds, was the legislators’ solution a fair and equitable alternative, or a hurried voter suppression (snail mail turn around time for ballot request, receiving ballot, mailing in ballot, receiving and verifying vote in 4 weeks very short)? Various news outlets have been running autopsies on what happened with the Sanders campaign. 3-25-20 Washington Post  Sean Sullivan’s dissection (Insiders recount how Sanders lost the black vote) interviews many current and past operatives. It ignores the Bloomberg factor (which was viable at the time of the SC primary) and answers its one question with what everyone already knew, way deep in the latter half of the article: “In the eyes of some Sanders aides, there was little he could have done to reverse the loyalty that Biden spent decades building among black voters. Others felt that the campaign misjudged how impactful Biden’s institutional support would be.” The valorization of loyalty above all else is now shared as a priority by both the incumbent GOP candidate and the likely DEM challenger for US President. The institutional disdain of the Democratic Party for Mr. Sanders candidacy goes way back. Bloomberg could buy televised enthusiasm but little else. Sanders could get folks to appear at rallies but not at the polls. And Biden? He got the primary vote. Which got the conservative National Review to headline “Does anyone remember Joe Biden?” (3-24-20). Indeed, without an enthusiastic core of followers, Joe likewise hunkered down with a base that is preoccupied with its own high risk of fatally contracting Covid 19. In a perverse turn, never Democrats like Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, propagandist Glenn Beck and Fox News Brit Hume (and others) have promoted a solution to the threat to capitalism in the US (the economic fallout of the spread of Covid 19) – the country should rid itself of its useless eaters, which just happens to be Biden’s unenthusiastic base. Where is Joe Biden?

 

Crowd Sourcing

January 20, 2019

Crowd news of the past week was, well, crowded. Large crowds of teachers turned out to demonstrate in LA along with masses of parents and students supporting their demands. Crowds of various Federal Government workers turned out for information pickets, demonstrations to end the shut down, sign up for unemployment benefits, food pantry and free meal distribution. Crowds of demonstrators turned out in DC for Native American demands, Pro- Life movements and the Women’s March. In France the Yellow Vests took to the streets en masse for the tenth weekend in a row. And in Central America another caravan gathered and began the long walk north for asylum. The contemporary is a time of masses of people taking to the streets in crowds. Anthropologists and sociologists say it is part of being human to band together. Not necessarily the “herd instinct” but reasons given tend to favor the security and strength in numbers, the efficiency of a division of labor (one babysits while another fetches provisions), and the motivational imperative of actually, physically experiencing that we are not alone; that others think and feel as we do (never found on Facebook). Along with this time of a visible sea of humanity there is the insinuation that these gatherings only take place because “someone is paying for it.” This critique ascertains a kind of surreptitious “worldly” validity. Come on now. Someone had to pay for all the organization, promotion and logistics. Unspoken is that this “pragmatic” line of thought disses what the anthropologists and sociologists ground as the characteristic of being human. We are a communal species, not just in sprawling urban manifestations but also rural interaction. OK, hoarding survivalists demand to differ. Their Prepper Conventions scheduled for 2019 beg to differ with that. Analysis finds the need to band together for the reasons given to run deep and be inextricable. But “I wonder who is paying for that?” accompanies most conversation around migrant caravans and spontaneous demonstrations. Analysis shows the question to be a red herring. It assumes that working together, in a group, is not what it is to be human (not exactly extraterrestrial, but extra human). It already assumes that migration is a solitary entrepreneurial activity, that negotiations are always between the single individual and the nebulous powers that be, and that appeals of any sort are purely subjective, pertaining to the isolated subject and not the aggregate. The next time the insinuation that “someone must be paying” for migrant caravans, yellow vests taking to the streets, or opioid addiction demonstrations worms its way into the conversation, ask yourself “Would these gatherings take place without a profit motive, a bottom line, a business incentive?” The incidence of masses of people taking to the streets grows daily. Analysis finds that someone is certainly paying. What they are paying for is to stop, deny, and make this all too human activity disappear. But who is paying to do this?

Grover Must Be Smiling Today

January 15, 2019

What’s not in the news? An intriguing question indeed. Analysis finds an accounting of the “government shut down” that is not oriented from the perspective of a high school civics class or college political science class to be one answer. How so? Well, what about a perspective that stems from the “all or nothing” fundamental logic of capitalism? Rand Paul is on his way to Canada for a medical operation (Rand Paul to travel to Canada for hernia surgery By Elizabeth Landers, CNN, 1-15-19). “Paul, a respected eye surgeon, has been a vocal critic of socialized medicine. At the height of the Trump administration’s most recent effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, Paul said on Sean Hannity’s radio show: “This is about freedom. This is about whether we as Americans should be free to buy what kind of insurance we want. What’s best for us and our families. And it’s about whether the individual knows best or government knows best. Are we too stupid that President Obama has to tell us what kind of insurance? Does he think Americans are too dumb to make their own decisions?”” “All or nothing” in the sense that this same freedom exists in Canada yet those unable to afford the “open market” of health care can still be healthy through the support of their government (if they choose). Not so here, or at least in the capitalism (without other socialist “competition”) envisioned by Mr. Paul, and many others involved with the government shut down. Oh yes, the shut down. We have hundreds of thousands of employees and affiliated folks out of work. We have hundreds of thousands required to work for no pay. The civics class/poli sci class perspective can’t seem to rectify this disparity. America’s civil war of the 19thcentury supposedly definitively settled slavery as abolished in the United States. Yet, those working are likewise not free to refuse work (sounds a bit enslaving). No, the civics class/poli sci perspective is inadequate. It lacks the substance occurring before our eyes that is not spoken – the growth, evolution, and development of “all or nothing” capitalism (no competition from other ideologies, in whatever way). “Consumerism and capitalism are too often confused with democracy and freedom. They are not the same things.” “For a variety of reasons including economic precariousness, an unresponsive political system, a fear of violence and punishment from and by the state, and a culture of distraction and entertainment, the American people are stuck in a state of learned helplessness. What social scientist and futurist John Feffer has described as “participatory totalitarianism” conditions the American people (and others in the West and elsewhere) to desire and approve of constant surveillance. It has become normalized and incentivized by social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.” (Faced with the “greatest scandal” in our history, what will the American people do? Is America too deeply cocooned in consumerism, too blind or too cynical to take action against a traitor president? Chauncy Devega 1-14-19). “Learned Helplessness” sounds aptly descriptive of the contemporary shut down situation. But it also sounds like a lot of intellectual idealism. After all, since assuming the mantle of leadership, the GOP has improved capitalism by slashing taxes, imposing tariffs (which “levels the playing field” but the consumer pays for it in the end), shrinking the size of government meddling through the elimination of regulations and agencies, and now shutting the government down entirely. Not the stuff of Marvel civics class/poli sci comics! But definitely the stuff of “all or nothing” capitalism, resentful and envious of anything not “privatized.” “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” (Interview on NPR’s Morning Edition, May 25, 2001) “Our goal is to inflict pain. It is not good enough to win; it has to be a painful and devastating defeat. We’re sending a message here. It is like when the king would take his opponent’s head and spike it on a pole for everyone to see.” (from the National Review, quoted in The Republican Noise Machine by David Brock, Crown Publishers 2004, pg. 50) Two quotes by Grover Norquist. Wiki gives: “Grover Norquist (born October 19, 1956) is an American political advocate, who is founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases.” Analysis can only conclude that Grover must be smiling today.

 

What Is This Nameless…

July 19, 2018

July 13, 2018 reporting for The Newark Advocate Kent Mallet wrote about Downtown Benches Becoming Beds For Some. The bulk of the article was about the Newark Development Partners, Safety Director, Mayor and how this is carryover from when the Gazebo was there (and why it had to go!). The buried lead at the bottom of the article (“Donna Gibson, director of operations for St. Vincent Housing Facilities, said they do drug testing for the 26-bed St. Vincent Haven men’s shelter and the 24-apartment Gardens on Sixth transitional housing. Those who test positive are not allowed in the facilities, but they try to get them help, she said. “We’ve seen a huge influx in people coming and asking for food, a huge influx of homeless people,” Gibson said. “We do the best we can with what we have. We’re full. We’ve never had a waiting list, but we’re telling people to come back.” Drug use has become an even bigger problem recently, Gibson said. “It’s been overwhelming lately,” Gibson said. “We’ve moved beyond an epidemic. It’s a plague. Meth seems to be the biggest problem we’re dealing with.””) speaks rather succinctly of the enormous reality of American bodies infected by addiction having no place to call home in contemporary America (literally homeless). Analysis finds many corollaries that illuminate this tragedy, outlining its invisibility. In his book, Between The World And Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates quotes from another author, another book (Thavolia Glymph, Out Of The House Of Bondage) – “And there it is – the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.” In one of his lectures at The College Of France, Michel Foucault (French social/cultural critic and philosopher) asked two simple questions —

Question: What is a wage?

Answer: It is an income.

Q: What is an income?

A; It is a return on capital.

As Analysis has often indicated, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall there is only one game in town (or globally). That is capitalism. Like it or not, we are now all capitalists. Only no one told that to those bodies sleeping on the courthouse benches. Which makes for the quandary posed to the DeLawders and Laymans of the Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation, and for Newark’s Safety Director Steve Baum as well as the unawares Mayor Jeff Hall (“said he had not heard about people loitering downtown or sleeping for extended periods on the benches.”). Without capital there is no income. Without income one cannot play the game, the only game in town. Those without income are not only homeless but likewise useless and worthless within capitalism (they have no capital). Today we are all entrepreneurs. Our equality is purchased by our entrepreneurship, some more equal than others. To be an entrepreneur requires some capital, any capital, even if only that of a body to be sold. What is this nameless body sleeping on a bench, this “someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below”?

 

Why Donald Trump Needs People To Be Poor

June 6, 2017

In his inimitable, deeply personal manner Newark’s US Representative, Pat Tiberi, emailed his constituents a survey. “What are your priorities to create jobs? Your priorities are my priorities. Your thoughts are important to me.” followed by the GOP house menu. The survey presents the appearance of propriety as the party is now the government, no need to bother. The party itself is now evolving with the “old” guard (McCain, Kasich, etc.) and the new populist/nationalists, again, presenting the appearance of being irreconcilable. Trump came in forming a weird coalition of uber wealth (his cabinet is the richest ever) and those who appear to have not so much (really?). Those who appear to have not so much either find their modicum of success to be a plateau or are without success altogether. Each triumphs the Trump presidency for a different reason. All the statistics from the “Occupy” days haven’t disappeared and the ubers’ wealth is superfluous, i.e. it is not generating more wealth. The not so’s find their overcapacity to work is, in an odd way, superfluous, i.e. that there either is not better compensation for their work, or the expenditure of greater work effort will not greatly improve their economic position. Recent developments in the automotive sector may help shed some light on this. The last couple of years have shown continuous and steady sales of various automotive products. In spite of this, Ford sacked its CEO and is restructuring for change. GM is pondering splitting its stock like airline seating – first class and coach. According to classic capitalist theory, nothing is awry. An investor purchases a scrap of paper and yearly the company selling the paper pays out a dividend. Where’s the hitch? What is destabilizing the auto companies is that the value of the piece of paper hasn’t gone up. In short, the superfluous wealth tied up with this “investment” is not promising a large enough return. Put crassly, the money needs to make more money. In today’s global economics, the auto industry is akin to the stationary industry of 50 years ago. Making an envelope is not all that complicated. Though there once was a steady demand for paper envelopes, nothing would make the producer’s stock price rise dramatically, as the competition was equally adept at producing envelopes. Imagining Ford and GM to be making envelopes brings us back to the weird coalition that supports Donald Trump. The ubers demand a greater return on their wealth. The not so’s would like a greater return on their participation in this enterprise. Unlike colonial imperialist times, no new market or supplier will magically manifest itself in today’s global economics. Everyone, everywhere has access to a mobile device which will tell them what something on Ebay can be gotten for. So the classic “buy cheap, sell dear” model is well worn. Other approaches are available that will make America great again and cause stock value to rise (saving jobs but not necessarily creating them). Early on in their schooling children are taught the Disneyland version – discover something everyone wants and you’ll be a star. This is John Kasich’s methodology in dealing with the drug epidemic in Ohio through research funding. Another approach is by making what is public private, and vice versa. The health care debate swirls around this interpretation, and now the Trump presidency is calling for it with appeals to make America’s infrastructure great (and private)  again. But the tried and true (historical) approach to increasing the value of what you already have is to make sure others ain’t got it. Exclusivity is priceless. This technique increases the value of superfluous wealth without the risk of needing to expend it, creating something new, or tying it up in mundane, long term low yielding envelope company stock. The likewise tried and true method of making people poor (making sure other’s ain’t got it) is through creating an other, someone who is predetermined to be without. The without can be anything from job skill capacity, place of residence, genetic background, right language or learning, etc. This is the glue that bonds the coalition of uber wealth and those who appear to have not so much. Each are looking to enhance the value of what they have, at the expense of some other. Neither are very happy with what envelope sales generate. Analysis concludes by reminding the reader that “creating an other, someone who is predetermined to be without” is the classic definition and function of racism.

Hail To The Chief (Of Promotion And Sales)

January 4, 2017

In his introduction to The Culture of the New Capitalism (2006) Richard Sennett reasons out what he imagines will be the subject of his book. “Only a certain kind of human being can prosper in unstable, fragmentary social conditions. This ideal man or woman has to address three challenges.” “The first concerns time: how to manage short term relationships, and oneself, while migrating from task to task, job to job, place to place.” “The second challenge concerns talent: how to develop new skills, how to mine potential abilities, as reality’s demands shift.” “The third challenge follows from this. It concerns surrender; that is, how to let go of the past.” Ostensibly, this will result in “A self oriented to the short term, focused on potential ability, willing to abandon past experience is – to put a kindly face on the matter – an unusual sort of human being.” (pgs. 3-5) A little later on, in describing one of his studies that this work is an outcome of, he reiterates “Here I had the chance to see the cultural ideal of the new capitalism at its most robust, the boom suggesting that this new man/woman would get rich by thinking short term, developing his or her potential, and regretting nothing.” (pg. 7) Fair enough outcome of reasoning, as old as Plato, that usually is composed of ideas and eventually categorizes on ideals.

In a short essay entitled “From Someone to Nobody” (1950) Jorge Luis Borges follows a particular character, warp, or drift of thinking and reasoning. “To be one thing is inexorably not to be all the other things. The confused intuition of that truth has induced men to imagine that not being is more than being something and that, somehow, not to be is to be everything. That fallacy is inherent in the words of the legendary king of Hindustan who renounces power and goes out to beg in the streets: “From this day forward I have no realm or my realm is limitless, from this day forward my body does not belong to me or all the earth belongs to me.” Schopenhauer has written that history is an interminable and perplexing dream of human generations; in the dream are recurring forms, perhaps nothing but forms; one of them is the process described in this essay.”

Borges’ insight informs more than refutes Sennett’s imagining (as Sennett’s “factual” research findings are the “empirical” refutation, the stuff of the book). Though written over a half century ago, it also informs the ever recurring and repetitious “marketing” of the contemporary situation; why it is so necessary for current political leadership to promote and “sell” prosperity futures to an individual subject “oriented to the short term, focused on potential ability, willing to abandon past experience”. After all, if “not to be is to be everything” what need is there for competing alternatives, difference, compromise, or reason itself?