J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 08-31-2018

Churchill’s Compassionate Conservatism

A Burkean conservative who always sought a balance between tradition and change, Churchill understood the necessity of using state power to solve social problems. Churchill presents an alternative portrait of conservatism. In the spirit of his Tory predecessor, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Churchill wanted to revive the alliance between nobles and workers so as to curb the power and dominance of the bourgeoisie. Heeding the dictates of his conscience, Churchill crossed the aisle to join the Liberal Party in 1904, whereupon he worked with David Lloyd George and others to enact policies that would provide economic security and improve conditions for the working class. Churchill later worked alongside his peers in the Liberal Party, including Lloyd George, to pass the National Insurance Act of 1911. 

In particular, Churchill was responsible for spearheading the provision on unemployment insurance, but he also enthusiastically embraced the act’s section that created National Health Insurance for British workers. Ardent in his belief that the National Insurance Act bolstered Britain’s market economy and militated against the dreaded socialist alternative, Churchill continued to support modest expansions of the welfare state during the interwar period. A Liberal economist who had worked for Churchill during the creation of the National Insurance Act, Beveridge called for a dramatic expansion of national insurance that would offer every British citizen comprehensive protection from the vagaries of life, including poverty, unemployment, and illness. A year later Churchill expressed more explicitly his support for universal health insurance. As his wartime speeches and memos demonstrate, Churchill favored a more active state that would provide cradle-to-grave social insurance and equality of opportunity. 

Without having to work directly with other party leaders, as he had done under the coalition government, Churchill could have slashed or even repealed many of the programs for which Labour had worked so hard, including its crown jewel, the National Health Service. In the end, Winston Churchill can be remembered for bolstering the National Health Service and, more generally, helping create and expand the modern welfare state in the United Kingdom. 

Keywords: [“Churchill”,”Insurance”,”National”]
Source: https://trueredusa.com/churchills-compassionate-conservatism

Adventures in Capitalism

During one of those calls, I was strongly urged to go check out the Tsukiji Fish Market and its famous tuna auction, which takes place at 5:30 AM. Fortunately, the Women’s Startup Lab founder, Ari Horie, was both awake and willing to indulge my quixotic desire. Eventually, we made our way to the center of the complex, where, by peering under partially raised garage doors, we could just make out the preparations underway for the tuna auction. Whole flash-frozen tuna were being lined up for inspection by an army of Japanese men with wicked-looking fish hooks. Once inside, we got a much better look at the tuna, laid out like a giant set of fishy chess pieces all over the concrete, ice-strewn floor. 

All told, we watched the three different tuna auctions, then found the actual tourist-accessible part of the market and had a breakfast of fine sushi at 6 AM. The fish was very fresh and very delicious. The first thing Ari and I did after getting through customs was to visit a Japanese convenience store for snacks. Rather than a cumbersome paper pouch or a sealed K-Cup, poured into a styrofoam cup, the coffee package folds out with origami-like precision to precisely fit the delicate, fine bone china cups provided in my hotel room. Instead of the American system of a heatproof disposable cup with a cardboard sleeve to prevent burns, the Japanese way is to have disposable cups that fit into a plastic adapter that holds the cup, protects the drinker’s hand, and offers a handle so that you can grasp the cup with a few of your fingers and drink your tea in a civilized and genteel manner rather than barbarically holding a cardboard cup with your whole hand. 

For the most part, Tokyo looks like a much cleaner, much more elegant, much more Japanese Manhattan. I’ve already had Chinese food twice! The food is excellently prepared and delicious, but I feel like I’m visiting Japan to enjoy Japanese culture, not Chinese or American culture. Spoken Japanese is incredibly fast and very melodic and animated. We think of the Japanese as reserved because their English is slow and formal, but their Japanese conversations make most English conversations pale in comparison. 

Keywords: [“Japanese”,”out”,”tuna”]
Source: http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com

Review: A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism

A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism offers a key contextual primer for food researchers and activists. Chapter 1: How Our Capitalist Food System Came to Be. By the end of the nineteenth century, mercantilism, colonialism, and industrialization had all combined a new form of global capitalism that spread powerfully, if unevenly, around the earth. Unless we change the underlying value relations of our food system-the contradiction between food as essential for human life and food as a commodity-we will be working on the margins of a system that is structurally designed for profit rather than need, speculation rather than equity, and extraction rather than resilience. If we want to change the power of commodities in the food system, we will have to change the way we value the labor in our food as well. 

Our attempts to transform the food system hinge on changing the social relation embedded in our food. Because food is both a commodity and an existential necessity, and because our food system impacts all other aspects of our social and economic system because we all eat, the social relation of food is pivotal in terms of human well-being. We can’t change the food system without transforming capitalism. We can’t transform capitalism without changing the food system. The challenge for our planet is not how to produce food, but how to keep smallholders on the land while sustainably producing healthy food. 

The challenge of building a public sphere for the twenty first century is not to re-create the past, but to build a new, transnational public sphere that has a critical analysis of capitalism, builds social legitimacy for movements for food justice and food sovereignty, and connects them with the broad environmental and social justice movements. We need a movement that is able to forge a militantly democratic food system in favour of the poor and oppressed globally and locally, and that effectively rolls back the elite, neoliberal food regime. Understanding why, where, and how oppression manifests itself in the food system, recognizing it within our food movement and our organizations, is not extra work for transforming our food system. 

Keywords: [“food”,”system”,”farm”]
Source: https://foodanthro.com/2017/12/15/review-a-foodies-guide-to-capitalism

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 08-27-2018

Interview with “Compassionate Capitalist” Dr. Charlotte di Vita MBE

Actual engagement was a weakness as people tended to ignore the passionate subculture with a rigid gospel prohibiting use of any and all animal products. The vegan movement’s brain finally outgrew its heart, and in less than two decades the pragmatic vein of the movement has morphed into one of the biggest disruptors of the American food system. Instead of throwing red paint at the fashion industry, picketing outside McDonald’s, and creating spectacles in the street, the small group devoted their energies to behind-the-scenes farm animal welfare policy, pressuring companies to improve housing conditions for pigs and hens while also drafting legislation and ballot measures to get the issues in front of voters. Friedrich leads The Good Food Institute, a lobbying shop in DC that represents the interests of meat-alternative food products; Shapiro helped mastermind a cage-free ballot initiative in Massachusetts that will reshape how food animals are produced across the country; Prescott has made inroads into major investment banks; Meier leads undercover investigation efforts to expose the poor living conditions of many farm animals; and Tetrick, who as a college student would travel from West Virginia to DC to hang out with the pragmatists, was a founder of Hampton Creek, the well-known eggless condiments company. By picking on farm animal production techniques that appeal to consumer emotions, the group forced companies with so-called factory farms into the difficult position of defending practices that can seem draconian. 

That measure prohibits the in-state sale of eggs, veal, or pork from farms that confined their animals in spaces that prevented them from lying down, standing up, extending their limbs, or turning around. There aren’t many egg farms in Massachusetts, but if egg farmers in Iowa want to sell their goods to the 6.7 million people living in the northeastern state, they’ll have to re-outfit how they house and manage their flocks. Voters who empathize with farm animals were much more likely to buy into Shapiro’s measure. If sales data show consumers care about animal welfare, Matthew Prescott can use-and has used-it to convince investment banks to pressure companies, such as McDonald’s, to change their practices. Companies such as Perfect Day, Beyond Meat, and Hampton Creek are developing meat and dairy products marketed as better for the environment and the animals. 

From the absolutist point-of-view, the pragmatists diminished the importance of fighting for animal lives by concentrating their energies on farm animal welfare. A commitment to reducing animal suffering, argues Gary Francione, a Rutgers University law professor, was an abdication of the bigger mission of freeing animals altogether. 

Keywords: [“animal”,”farm”,”movement”]
Source: https://qz.com/829956

CV1

Political analysts frequently consider what it means to be a libertarian. Almost no one ever discusses what it feels like to be a libertarian. It feels bad. Being a libertarian means living with an almost unendurable level of frustration. Imagine spending two decades warning that government policy is leading to a major economic collapse, and then, when the collapse comes, watching the world conclude that markets do not work. 

Imagine continually explaining that markets function because they have a built in corrective mechanism; that periodic contractions are necessary to weed out unproductive ventures; that continually loosening credit to avoid such corrections just puts off the day of reckoning and inevitably leads to a larger recession; that this is precisely what the government did during the 1920’s that led to the great depression; and then, when the recession hits, seeing it offered as proof of the failure of laissez-faire capitalism. I remember attending a lecture at Georgetown in the mid-1990s given by a member of the libertarian Cato Institute in which he predicted that, unless changed, government policy would trigger an economic crisis by 2006. Libertarians spend their lives accurately predicting the future effects of government policy. Their predictions are accurate because they are derived from Hayek’s insights into the limitations of human knowledge, from the recognition that the people who comprise the government respond to incentives just like anyone else and are not magically transformed to selfless agents of the good merely by accepting government employment, from the awareness that for government to provide a benefit to some, it must first take it from others, and from the knowledge that politicians cannot repeal the laws of economics. For the same reason, their predictions are usually negative and utterly inconsistent with the utopian wishful-thinking that lies at the heart of virtually all contemporary political advocacy. 

For the sin of continually pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, libertarians are attacked as heartless bastards devoid of compassion for the less fortunate, despicable flacks for the rich or for business interests, unthinking dogmatists who place blind faith in the free market, or, at best, members of the lunatic fringe. If you add to that curse that she would be ridiculed, derided, and shunned for making her predictions, you have a pretty fair approximation of what it feels like to be a libertarian. Trust me, it won’t feel any better five or ten years from now when everything you have just said has been proven true and Obama, like FDR, is nonetheless revered as the savior of the country. 

Keywords: [“libertarian”,”government”,”feel”]
Source: http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/FeelsLike.htm

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 07-28-2018

The vegan movement split, and now the disruptor has the meat industry on high alert

The American vegan movement was always its own worst enemy. The vegan movement’s brain finally outgrew its heart, and in less than two decades the pragmatic vein of the movement has morphed into one of the biggest disruptors of the American food system. Friedrich leads The Good Food Institute, a lobbying shop in DC that represents the interests of meat-alternative food products; Shapiro helped mastermind a cage-free ballot initiative in Massachusetts that will reshape how food animals are produced across the country; Prescott has made inroads into major investment banks; Meier leads undercover investigation efforts to expose the poor living conditions of many farm animals; and Tetrick, who as a college student would travel from West Virginia to DC to hang out with the pragmatists, was a founder of Hampton Creek, the well-known eggless condiments company. By picking on farm animal production techniques that appeal to consumer emotions, the group forced companies with so-called factory farms into the difficult position of defending practices that can seem draconian. Voters who empathize with farm animals were much more likely to buy into Shapiro’s measure. 

If sales data show consumers care about animal welfare, Matthew Prescott can use-and has used-it to convince investment banks to pressure companies, such as McDonald’s, to change their practices. Companies such as Perfect Day, Beyond Meat, and Hampton Creek are developing meat and dairy products marketed as better for the environment and the animals. Despite the broad reach and proven efficacy of the vegan pragmatism, not everyone in the larger vegan movement is impressed. The 2001 split in the vegan movement was painful, leaving behind feelings of resentment that never healed. From the absolutist point-of-view, the pragmatists diminished the importance of fighting for animal lives by concentrating their energies on farm animal welfare. 

A commitment to reducing animal suffering, argues Gary Francione, a Rutgers University law professor, was an abdication of the bigger mission of freeing animals altogether. The absolutist tactics estrange the vegan movement from mainstream culture, the pragmatists argue. 

Keywords: [“animal”,”farm”,”movement”]
Source: https://qz.com/829956/how-the-vegan-movement-broke-out-of-its-echo…

MARXISM ALLIANCE

Its primary mission is to emphasise the similarity and compatibility of the Buddhist teachings with those of Classical Marxism, and to assert that both systems of thought are motivated by compassion for the suffering of humanity, and emphasises a radical method of escape from that suffering. Buddhism and Marxism share a common philosophical grounding that is dynamic, ingenious, and transformative. Buddhism and Marxism arrive at exactly the same conclusions, but through diverse and yet complimentary pathways. The ancient Indian spiritual seeker Sakyamuni Buddha, and the modern German academic Karl Marx, were not only outstanding intellectuals of their day, but the powerful influence of their respective systems of thought has continued to influence world thinking into the post-modern period of human development. The BMA exists to provide free education about Buddhist and Marxist thought, and encourages and supports any individual or group who is endeavouring to better their understanding through the development of the mind. 

As a result of these changes in Asia, the Buddhist Sangha has led the way in making clear the fundamental compatibility of the Dharma with Marxist thought, and in so doing has made Communist education freely available to ordinary people. Through the Buddhist Sangha embracing Marxist-Leninism, Buddhism has become an important element in maintaining the stability of the Communist State. The BMA is of the opinion that many facets of Buddhism in the West have been corrupted and hijacked by the bourgeoisie, and used in its habit of continuously justifying predatory capitalism. The BMA firmly rejects this ‘pseudo-Buddhism’ and advises all the genuine seekers interested in the study of Buddhism, to find authentic teachers and reliable sources of information. Do not bring emotional or intellectual immaturity into this thought community. 

The bourgeois system claims to extol ‘freedom of thought’ – so exercise it. By all means, have your own thoughts and live your own life – but do not ‘infect’ this sacred psycho-physical space with bourgeois delusion, fetishism, and excess. 

Keywords: [“thought”,”Buddhist”,”BMA”]
Source: https://buddhistsocialism.weebly.com

The Real Reason for the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor

The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines. As a result, Americans pay more for broadband Internet, food, airline tickets and banking services than the citizens of any other advanced nation. Bankruptcy laws have been loosened for large corporations-airlines, automobile manufacturers, even casino magnates like Donald Trump-allowing them to leave workers and communities stranded. The largest banks and auto manufacturers were bailed out in 2008, shifting the risks of economic failure onto the backs of average working people and taxpayers. Today, nearly one out of every three working Americans is in a part-time job. 

The portion of workers with any pension connected to their job has fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today. Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker, backed by a strong union, earned $35 an hour in today’s dollars. Now America’s largest employer is Wal-Mart, and the typical entry-level Wal-Mart worker, without a union, earns about $9 an hour. The underlying problem is not just globalization and technological changes that have made most American workers less competitive. The more basic problem is that the market itself has become tilted ever more in the direction of moneyed interests that have exerted disproportionate influence over it, while average workers have steadily lost bargaining power-both economic and political-to receive as large a portion of the economy’s gains as they commanded in the first three decades after World War II. 

Reversing the scourge of widening inequality requires reversing the upward pre-distributions within the rules of the market, and giving average people the bargaining power they need to get a larger share of the gains from growth. It will be between a majority of Americans who have been losing ground, and an economic elite that refuses to recognize or respond to its growing distress. He has written 13 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock and The Work of Nations. 

Keywords: [“Work”,”American”,”more”]
Source: http://www.newsweek.com/real-reason-growing-gap-between-rich-and-poor-377662

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 05-11-2018


Compassionate Capitalism – by Sanjiv Mehta at the #India2022Exchange

The Ethics of Health Care Reform: Issues in Emergency

This paper describes the basic provisions of the PPACA of 2010 and addresses important ethical issues of health care reform, including the moral foundations of reform, the American College of Emergency Physicians Code of Ethics as a guiding document, and health care reform’s likely effects on cost containment, public health, access to care, ED crowding, and end of life issues. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a federal statute signed into law along with its amendment, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, by President Obama in March 2010.[i] It is designed to take effect in stages over the next 8 years and includes reforms such as prohibiting insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid eligibility, subsidizing insurance premiums, and providing incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits. To understand the moral dimensions of the health care reform debate, it is useful to begin by examining the fundamental goals of our health care system. Evaluation of health care reform practices according to this Code of Ethics will provide guidance to ensure the ethical delivery of emergency medical care. An accountable care organization is defined in the PPACA as an organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of Medicare patients for whom they provide the bulk of primary care services. 

Xvi] ACOs have been suggested as a strategy to deliver integrated health care by promoting evidence-based medicine, reporting data about quality and cost of care, and coordinating health care. Finding the balance between provision of value in health care and cost containment remains a fundamental ethical challenge for health care reform. ACEP’s policy on Medical Screening of Emergency Department Patients states that ACEP strongly opposes deferral of care for patients presenting to the ED. Furthermore, ACEP believes that deferring care for patients presenting to the ED reflects a void in the health care system. Further bolstering an expanded scope of care argument is the fact that racial and ethnic disparities may be increased by expanded health insurance coverage by the PPACA. 

Those who have difficulties in obtaining PCP care are often from disadvantaged backgrounds, and in Massachusetts health reform did exacerbate this health care disparity. This reform will invest in community health centers and pay for primary care, to give patients options to receive non-urgent care and follow-up care in settings more appropriate than the ED. Unfortunately, PPACA does not address the underlying issues that influence ED crowding. Lxx] Health care reform provisions, including the possible future adoption by law or regulation of funding for advance care planning consultations, demonstrating the value of expert symptom management in parallel with standard therapies and improving pain management, would enhance ethical care by promoting patient autonomy and well-being, avoiding harm, and matching resources with patients’ goals for medical therapy. Ethical issues of health care reform include moral foundations, cost containment, public health, access to care, ED crowding, and end-of-life issues. 

Keywords: [“care”,”Health”,”Patient”]
Source: https://www.acep.org/Content.aspx?id=80871

The American Conservative

A few years ago I began a book about cruelty to animals and about factory farming in particular, problems that had been in the back of my mind for a long while. Industrial livestock farming is among a whole range of animal-welfare concerns that extends from canned trophy-hunting to whaling to product testing on animals to all sorts of more obscure enterprises like the exotic-animal trade and the factory farming of bears in China for bile believed to hold medicinal and aphrodisiac powers. Surveying the various uses to which animals are put, some might be defensible, others abusive and unwarranted, and it’s the job of any conservative who attends to the subject to figure out which are which. A certain moral relativism runs through the arguments of those hostile or indifferent to animal welfare-as if animals can be of value only for our sake, as utility or preference decrees. If one animal’s pain-say, that of one’s pet-is real and deserving of sympathy, then the pain of essentially identical animals is also meaningful, no matter what conventional distinctions we have made to narrow the scope of our sympathy. 

Often applying felony-level penalties to protect certain domestic animals, these state and federal statutes declare that even though your animal may elsewhere in the law be defined as your property, there are certain things you may not do to that creature, and if you are found harming or neglecting the animal, you will answer for your conduct in a court of justice. Our pets are accorded certain protections from cruelty, while the nameless creatures in our factory farms are hardly treated like animals at all. If conservatives do nothing else about any other animal issue, we should attend at least to the factory farms, where the suffering is immense and we are all asked to be complicit. If we are going to have our meats and other animal products, there are natural costs to obtaining them, defined by the duties of animal husbandry and of veterinary ethics. Factory farming came about when resourceful men figured out ways of getting around those natural costs, applying new technologies to raise animals in conditions that would otherwise kill them by deprivation and disease. 

Actually, all of factory farming proceeds by a massive denial of reality-the reality that pigs and other animals are not just production units to be endlessly exploited but living creatures with natures and needs. Factory farming is a predatory enterprise, absorbing profit and externalizing costs, unnaturally propped up by political influence and government subsidies much as factory-farmed animals are unnaturally sustained by hormones and antibiotics. 

Keywords: [“animal”,”farm”,”factory”]
Source: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/fear-factories

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 02-01-2018

Jobo Pooks: Capitalism isn’t a dirty word

Given the current climate in the UK regarding the corrupt establishment that operates under the name of capitalism, we have an ever increasing faction that sit on the hard left and push the ideology of a non-capitalist country and world. In the non-capitalist society that the radical left seek, we would all work cooperatively and all have the same, no matter how hard we worked or how much skill we offered up to that cooperative. In effect, communism – what else would it be? What would make one work hard in that kind of set-up? Why would one go the extra mile or take risks over and above anyone else for the same reward? It would soon end up a stagnant pond with nothing growing in it – a nation of bored robots with no drive to do better or improve. There is joy in challenge as we overcome obstacles and receive the rewards that we are entitled to for those struggles, but if we gather up that which we worked harder than others for, we are corrupt in not sharing the excess amongst those who do not share our ability to enter into the challenges through reasons of a natural inequality. This corruption is what gives capitalism a bad name because many people don’t see that the corruption and the greed and hoarding is not because of the capitalism itself, it’s through the abuse of it and it’s ultimately the abusers who are at fault. Capitalism is just another word for free enterprise. There are many good people in UK paying fair wages and giving good conditions to those they employ. Do you see how real capitalism – free enterprise, if used properly can enrich society? Socio-Capitalism could help to encourage drive and progress through reward, whilst also eliminating hunger, fear, war, suffering and feelings of inequality and inadequacy. In my nation, an independent republic run by and for the people that would embrace real capitalism, I would abolish the monarchy and strip it of it’s wealth – wealth attained via ancestral murder and theft. People are not stupid, as the current dictatorship seem to believe, and can make informed decisions. Sound like a utopia? It wouldn’t be and would take hard work and struggle to reach, but I believe it to be worth working and struggling for. The current mentality of the masses is one of selfish brainwashed apathetic self serving robots who can’t see that the Westminster system is and always has been corrupt and that voting is futile in a system where prime ministers are chosen by the elite machine – not elected by the people.

Keywords: [“people”,”work”,”hard”]
Source: http://realjobopooks.blogspot.com/2018/01/capitalism-isnt-dirty-word.html

Compassion for Farm Animals

Compassion for Farm Animals seeks to educate consumers about the cruelty that is both legal and commonplace in modern industrial agriculture. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, so-called factory farms – as distinct from the traditional small diversified family operations – directly or indirectly account for almost all of the animal products consumed each year. Social and technological change over the last century have created a Hobson’s Choice for farmers, forcing them to choose between the welfare of their animals and the welfare of their families. “Some of the things that make capitalism a good economic system – technology, specialization, low-cost production, and competition – are the very things that push farmers to adopt practices that oppress animals,” wrote Hope College professor Steven McMullen in the Journal of Animal Ethics. “In a competitive market, profit margins are extremely small, and so farmers either have to adopt the low-cost production methods or go out of business.” Given its systemic roots, the surest way to end the suffering of farm animals is to eliminate demand for those “Products” raised through inhumane technologies. “Their lives are filled with pain, confusion, and loneliness,” wrote Gene Baur, who co-founded the nation’s first sanctuary for farm animals. Saving farm animals from intense suffering is not an ideological issue. Mathew Scully, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, called industrial farming “a serious moral problem, a truly rotten business for good reason passed over in polite conversation.” The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote that “Our great-grandchildren will find it difficult to believe that we actually raised, herded, and slaughtered [animals] on an industrial scale – for the eating.” And the former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and wife Tracey recently turned a New Jersey farm into a sanctuary for rescued farm animals. Extending compassion to farm animals gives us the chance to be a part of something great, something historic, something far larger than ourselves. As the Greek historian Plutarch once wrote, “For the sake of a little flesh, we deprive the animals of the sun, of the light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.” Compassion for Farm Animals is about giving them back their sun, their light, and the quality of life that all creatures deserve.

Keywords: [“animal”,”Farm”,”wrote”]
Source: http://www.compassionforfarmanimals.org

JR Test Site News for 01-18-2018

A New Democratic Enlightenment?

For once upon a time the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria was among the most powerful, dynamic and forward-thinking party machines of the modern world. The theme of our European Forum Alpbach symposium on politics is the New Enlightenment so here’s my opening conjecture: the language and ideal of social democracy has its roots in the 18th-century Enlightenment. My research on Thomas Paine and the eighteenth century tried to complicate matters by making the point that the Enlightenment also included champions of civil rights, social justice and democratic representation, rebels and radicals who were sharply aware of the miseries suffered by people ground down by modern institutions not of their own choosing. The social democratic critique of free market capitalism proved compelling for millions of people. There is no time for me to recall the great moments of high drama, conceptual strife and contradictions, dark sides and luscious ironies that form part of a recorded history that includes courageous struggles of the downtrodden to form co-operatives, friendly societies, free trade unions, and to spread literacy and win the struggle for the universal franchise through social democratic parties. Membership of social democratic parties has dipped dramatically. Social democratic parties were among the slowest to react to the upheavals effected by the digital, globally networked communications revolution that began during the 1960s. Social democratic parties have shown limited awareness of the emergence, since the 1940s, of monitory democracy. Operating within the boundaries of territorial states, social democratic parties and governments have consequently been weakened and victimised by what Albert Einstein dubbed ‘spooky action at a distance’: cross-border butterfly effects, arbitrage pressures and quantum tunnels, all of which have greatly complicated the politics of wealth and income redistribution;. The rise of the People’s Republic of China as an economic great power on the global power stage has had two ironic effects: it has weakened an important part of the social support base of social democracy and established a viable ‘socialist’ alternative to capitalism in social democratic form: one party state capitalism legitimated by locally-made forms of democratic rule; and. For more than half a generation, beginning with works such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring , green thinkers, scientists, journalists, politicians and social movement activists have been pointing out that the whole social democratic tradition is implicated deeply in the spoliation of our planet. Hence they call for a new politics with green qualities, a new democratic enlightenment that poses a fundamental challenge to both the style and substance of the old social democracy, or what remains of it. Especially striking is the new enlightenment’s call for the ‘de-commodification’ of the biosphere, in effect, the replacement of social democracy’s will to dominate nature and its innocent attachment to History with a more prudent sense of ‘deep time’ aware of the fragile complexity of the biosphere and its multiple rhythms. The new democratic enlightenment is opposed to the old social democratic metaphysics of economic progress, and the machismo of its favoured imagery of warrior male bodies gathered at the gates of pits, docks and factories, singing hymns to industrial growth, under smoke-stained skies. These social democrats aim to retrieve its most fruitful old ‘wish image’ to deal politically with the new problems of our time.

Keywords: [“social”,”democracy”,”New”]
Source: http://theconversation.com/a-new-democratic-enlightenment-66013

capitalism – An Outside Chance

While A Foodie’s Guide is lacking in recipes or menu ideas, it shines in helping us to understand the struggles of the men and women who work in the farms and packing plants. It explains why major capitalists have typically shown little interest in direct involvement in agriculture – preferring to make their money selling farm inputs, trading farm commodities, or turning farm products into the thousands of refined products that fill supermarket shelves. “Markets have been around a long time,” he writes, “But before the nineteenth century did not organize society as they do today.” He shows how capitalism in England arose concurrently with vigorous state intervention which drove people off their small farms and into the industrial labour pool. Even today, people go to great lengths to avoid having their lands swallowed up by capitalist agriculture – especially since this transition typically results in widespread consolidation of farms, leaving most former farmers to try to earn a living as landless labourers. Holt-Giménez offers a good primer in Marxist theory here, showing why it has always been difficult for capitalists to extract surplus value directly from the labour of farmers. In industrialized countries, the farm workers who pick fruit and vegetables or work in packing plants tend to be immigrants on temporary work permits. In the US a large majority of farms, including massive farms which raise monoculture crops using huge machinery, are run by individual families rather than corporations. An important recent development in this regard is contract farming, which Holt-Giménez refers to as “a modern version of sharecropping and tenant farming”. “Through a market-specification contract, the firm guarantees the producer a buyer, based on agreements regarding price and quality, and with a resource-providing contract the firm also provides production inputs. If the firm provides all the inputs and buys all of the product, it essentially controls the production process while the farmer basically provides land and labor.” Meanwhile farmers with purchase contracts in hand can go to the bank for operating loans, but they lose control over most decisions about production on their own land. Contract farming dominates the poultry industry in the US and the pork market is now rapidly undergoing “Chickenization”. “Because peasant-style farming usually takes place on smaller farms, the total output is less than capitalist or entrepreneurial farms. However, their total output per unit of land tends to be higher. This is why, as capitalist agriculture converts peasant-style farms to entrepreneurial and capitalist farms, there is often a drop in productivity.” Holt-Giménez writes “Farmers are nutrient-deficient because they don’t have enough land to grow a balanced diet. These are political, not technical problems.” Yes, access to land is a critical political issue – but can we be sure that the answers are only political, and not in part technical as well? After all, famines predated capitalism, and have occurred in widely varying economic contexts even in the past century. Facing these challenges, farming knowledge and techniques that used to work very well may require serious adaptation. With a good grasp of the way capitalism distorts food production, plus an understanding of the class struggles that permeate the global food business, foodies stand a chance of turning the food movement into an effective force for change.

Keywords: [“farm”,”food”,”land”]
Source: https://anoutsidechance.com/tag/capitalism