J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 06-22-2018


Why Capitalism is The Most Compassionate System On Earth

The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice

Mindfulness and Compassion: The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice For thousands of years the art of contemplative practice has been used to explore the nature of mind and its potential. Today the emerging science of contemplative practice promises to shed new light on these essential human questions. Facilitating conversation between these two worlds may provide a catalytic mutual benefit, exploring how contemplative practice and scientific research can best inform each other for a greater common good. Dr. Briggs’s research interests include the renin-angiotensin system, circadian regulation of blood pressure, and policy and ethical issues around clinical research. 

Robert A.F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization, and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and dedicated to the publication of translations of important texts from the Tibetan Tengyur. Dr. Britton holds a B.A. in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. 

in Clinical Psychology, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health at Brown Medical School and Research Director of the Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative. Geoffrey Samuel is Emeritus Professor in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University and Director of the Body, Health and Religion Research Group, and an Honorary Associate of the Department of Indian Sub-Continental Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. Dr. Saron has had a long-standing interest in the effects of contemplative practice. Dr. 

Rosenberg is a senior teacher at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and a faculty member at The Nyingma Institute of Tibetan Studies in Berkeley. In his research, he has investigated historical changes in meanings of mindfulness and meditation, ethics and politics of the mindfulness movement, mindfulness meditation as a psychosocial research methodology, interactional aspects of ‘inquiry’ sequences in mindfulness courses, rhetoric of promotion in mindfulness self-help books, and pluralism in mindfulness-based mental health care interventions. His teaching explores mindfulness and socially engaged Buddhism as styles of contemplative education for social science and Social Work. Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies teaching award, acknowledging her outstanding contributions to graduate education, as well as a Contemplative Practice fellow of the Mind and Life Institute co-founded by the Dalai Lama. 

Keywords: [“research”,”Buddhist”,”study”]
Source: http://www.cmc-ia.org/mcc2015

Dreaming Beyond Capitalism: A Culture Without Fear – Kosmos Journal

Soon after white people did approach them, coming to them however with supportive intentions – a group of activists from the United States, searching for ways to protect Indigenous Peoples from the oil industry. Rewarding people with profit and status for the most competitive and destructive behavior, worshiping the golden calf of maximal economic growth, capitalism has effectively manufactured and then exploited people’s dream image. The First Peoples used this word specifically because they could not fathom any other explanation for the behavior of the European colonialists. Patriarchal conditioning – carried out worldwide, generation after generation, with the most aggressive means – has created a cultural matrix of violence and fear, which at present nearly all of humanity more or less unconsciously follows. Duhm started out as a leading Marxist writer during the anti-imperialist struggles of the 1960s and 70s in Germany, when he asked himself how it could be that billions of people comply with and obey the rules of society without being forced to do so. 

Working as a psychoanalyst, he faced the same basic structure in all his patients – no matter whether they suffered depression, heartache or schizophrenia – deep-rooted existential fear. For Duhm, the consequence was clear: If we want to escape from the wetiko disease of our current capitalist culture, we need a credible concept for a new nonviolent global society and for transforming the old matrix of fear and violence into a new matrix of trust, compassion and cooperation. Healing wetiko would be nothing short of reinventing our entire civilization and basing human existence on new social, ethical, spiritual and sexual foundations allowing profound trust between people as well as between humans and animals. In 1978 Duhm started out with a group of people to engage in an interdisciplinary research project for social and ecological sustainability to develop precisely such a concept. Having witnessed the failure of countless communes in the 1970s, most due to unresolved interpersonal conflicts around money, power and sex, the project focused its cultural experiment on creating new social structures able to resolve the psychological substratum of fear. 

In order to subjugate people under their systems of dominance, patriarchal rulers systematically destroyed tribal communities, thereby inflicting a profound collective trauma onto humanity. As we are reaching the pinnacle of a culture of global wetiko, the last throes of late-stage capitalism, healing our collective trauma, re-establishing functioning communities based on trust, and making our human existence compatible with the biosphere and nature again, may well be our only opportunity to secure ourselves and our children a future worth living on Spaceship Earth. 

Keywords: [“fear”,”people”,”Human”]
Source: https://www.kosmosjournal.org/news/dreaming-beyond-capitalism-a…

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

Compassionate Nationalism

Given the virulent opposition Trump seems to attract, particularly with respect to policies that embrace the principle of America First, it would be helpful to try to explain some of its moral foundations. The crucial moral argument in favor of nationalism is that America cannot be a force for good in the world unless it is internally cohesive and economically strong. Therefore protecting the American way of life is a prerequisite to America helping the rest of the world achieve that way of life. America needs to restrict immigration primarily to individuals who are highly skilled in professions where there are shortages of American workers. The moral argument against this, of course, is that America should rescue the impoverished refugees and offer them safe haven. 

America Cannot Possibly Accommodate the World’s Poor.America currently has a population of 330 million people. According to the latest projections from the United Nations, not including China, the 50 nations in the world with the greatest projected increases to their population include only two developed nations: America and Great Britain. America is projected to add 55 million people to its population in the next 20 years. These arguments miss the point, which is that even if America admitted millions of economic refugees, there would still be billions of people who will continue to live in desperate poverty in the nations those relative few who escape leave behind. The Moral PathIf America is economically strong, with skilled, capable immigrants who have left behind a diverse assortment of poverty-stricken nations, foreign aid isn’t the only way to help those nations. 

Embracing compassionate nationalism is the moral path towards making America great again. If America truly recovered the energy and vision of the nation it was a century ago, Americans would invest in mega-projects in developing nations. 

Keywords: [“America”,”nation”,”people”]
Source: https://amgreatness.com/2018/03/25/compassionate-nationalism

Corporate Compassion. NOW

This week NOW talks to both Jonathan Schwartz, the charismatic chief executive officer and president of Sun Microsystems, and billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, about their efforts to invest and grow programs that help the world be a better place. Khosla describes a radical proposal to move all U.S. automobile fuel consumption from gasoline to ethanol, the most widely-used biofuel, according to the latest government figures. Jonathan Schwartz is chief executive officer and president of Sun Microsystems, and a member of Sun’s board of directors. Schwartz was promoted to president and COO in 2004, and managed all operational functions at Sun. 

Prior to his position as CEO, Schwartz served as Sun’s executive vice president for software, its chief strategy officer, and held a variety of leadership positions across product and corporate development. He joined Sun in 1996 after the company acquired Lighthouse Design, where he was CEO and co-founder. Prior to that, Schwartz was with McKinsey & Co. An inveterate blogger, Schwartz received degrees in economics and mathematics from Wesleyan University. Vinod Khosla is the head of Khosla Ventures, a company that offers venture assistance, strategic advice, and capital to entrepreneurs. 

The company focuses on traditional technologies, such as computing and mobile, as well as innovative technologies that offer environmental benefits. Khosla is one of the co-founders of the technology firm Sun Microsystems as well as Daisy Systems, a computer aided design system for electrical engineers. Khosla is a charter member of TiE, a not-for-profit global network of entrepreneurs and professionals founded in 1992. Khosla graduated with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. 

Keywords: [“Khosla”,”Schwartz”,”Sun”]
Source: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/249/index.html

Compassion and the Humanities

That this is a reasonable, indeed an essential, way of thinking and feeling is intrinsic to the idea of the humanities, the study of what is human. It is within this moral frame that Terence’s line, clichéd though it has become over the centuries, becomes so vital: Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto – I am human, and nothing human is alien to me. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies-all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. 

From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. In certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The greater the suffering of that neighbor, the more rigorous must our attention be if we are to reach some understanding. For the last 25 years or more what used to be the humanistic disciplines have ignored the vital Terentian claim that nothing fully alienates one human from another. Not by acknowledging the power and shaping force of race and gender and sexual orientation and culture, but by treating them as a series of hermetically sealed boxes, they have made it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for their students to see themselves as sharing common experiences and common pursuits. 

If you cannot see your fellow students, or colleagues, as engaged in a common and intrinsically human search for knowledge – maybe even wisdom – then you will have no incentive to cross the boundaries of race, gender, or culture. If our young people are going to see that there are less confrontational alternatives, something other than zero-sum games, they’ll need instruction in the humanities. 

Keywords: [“human”,”feel”,”experience”]
Source: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/jacobs/compassion-and-the-humanities

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 04-22-2018

Poverty Capitalism: Interview with Ananya Roy

Ananya Roy: Microfinance is one of those rare poverty alleviation ideas whose popularity cuts across the ideological spectrum. Proponents of social justice have hailed microfinance as an instrument to fight the redlining of the poor by exclusionary financial institutions. Although microfinance is not a substantial sector in the budgets of multilateral and bilateral donors, it is quite literally everywhere in the world of development, repeatedly touted as a poverty panacea. New portals of development, such as Kiva.org, have also made it possible for the globally minded citizens of the global North to feel an immediate and intimate connection to microfinance and to the poor women who are most often microfinance borrowers. There are at least two distinct paradigms at work within the world of microfinance: one where microfinance is a global financial industry and an increasingly profitable asset class; the second where microfinance is a part of an overall package of pro-poor development. 

Ananya Roy: Yes, this is a fundamental contradiction that lies at the heart of microfinance, and indeed many other poverty-alleviation efforts as well. Many proponents of microfinance see it as an alternative to state-led development, and as testament to the entrepreneurial efforts of the poor. Ananya Roy: Microfinance bears many of the characteristics of subprime lending. Very few genres of microfinance tackle such issues; those that do not systematically depoliticize the question of poverty. Josh Leon: Microfinance has long been applied in rural settings, an obvious place to look for the world’s poor. 

Ananya Roy: Many poverty alleviation interventions have been developed and implemented in rural areas-such as the famous conditional cash transfer programs of Mexico and Brazil and the microfinance programs of Bangladesh. Ananya Roy: Your poetic question is about microfinance but it also speaks to broader trends-to millennial challenges and hopes. 

Keywords: [“Microfinance”,”Poverty”,”Development”]
Source: http://fpif.org/poverty_capitalism_interview_with_ananya_roy

The End of Capitalism Has Begun

Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue. Information is a machine for grinding the price of things lower and slashing the work time needed to support life on the planet. We’re surrounded not just by intelligent machines but by a new layer of reality centred on information. 

There is, alongside the world of monopolised information and surveillance created by corporations and governments, a different dynamic growing up around information: information as a social good, free at the point of use, incapable of being owned or exploited or priced. I’ve surveyed the attempts by economists and business gurus to build a framework to understand the dynamics of an economy based on abundant, socially-held information. Once you understand that information is physical, and that software is a machine, and that storage, bandwidth and processing power are collapsing in price at exponential rates, the value of Marx’s thinking becomes clear. I’m concentrating on the economic transition triggered by information because, up to now, it has been sidelined. Today, the thing that is corroding capitalism, barely rationalised by mainstream economics, is information. 

The equivalent of the printing press and the scientific method is information technology and its spillover into all other technologies, from genetics to healthcare to agriculture to the movies, where it is quickly reducing costs. The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. 

Keywords: [“information”,”new”,”capitalism”]
Source: https://www.alternet.org/economy/end-capitalism-has-begun

SparkNotes: The Jungle: Chapters 27-28

Marija’s entrance into prostitution culminates the essential accusation that Sinclair levels against capitalism: throughout The Jungle, he charges capitalism with trafficking in human lives. Human beings are despicably regarded as useful resources-means to an end rather than individuals-and are used until they are worn out and then ultimately thrown away. As a prostitute, Marija epitomizes this trafficking in human bodies, as society’s perception of her worth lies wholly in her ability to satisfy the basest desires of humankind. Just as the prostitutes are kept in a form of slavery, Sinclair often compares wage laborers to slaves, another form of trafficking in human bodies. Throughout the novel, human lives are bought and sold, although most wage laborers don’t even realize that they are part of a vast market of human flesh. 

To this point, the meaning of the title The Jungle has been made painfully clear: the world of the wage laborer is a savage realm characterized by a Darwinian struggle for survival. The structures of capitalism are a jungle of hidden nooks and crannies, each containing yet another dirty secret. Sinclair’s novel exposes the various levels of deception within the factories as well as the day-to-day details of the wage laborer’s life. Having gone to such great lengths to illustrate the evils of capitalism, Sinclair now offers socialism as the solution to the problems that the first twenty-seven chapters of the novel have explored in detail. The socialist political meeting proves anything but a jungle; rather, it is a haven from the cruel reality of capitalism. 

As the speaker catalogues the abuses and suffering of wage laborers, Jurgis reacts to socialism like a new, devout religious convert. Unlike the preacher at the religious revival meeting, who wanted commoners to better themselves according to the existing system, the socialist speaker wants commoners to motivate for change outside the system. 

Keywords: [“human”,”capitalism”,”laborer”]
Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/jungle/section9/page/2

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 04-18-2018

COMING SOON – Leafwind the Compassionate Capitalist

Dreaming Beyond Capitalism: A Culture Without Fear

Soon after white people did approach them, coming to them however with supportive intentions – a group of activists from the United States, searching for ways to protect Indigenous Peoples from the oil industry. Rewarding people with profit and status for the most competitive and destructive behavior, worshiping the golden calf of maximal economic growth, capitalism has effectively manufactured and then exploited people’s dream image. The First Peoples used this word specifically because they could not fathom any other explanation for the behavior of the European colonialists. Patriarchal conditioning – carried out worldwide, generation after generation, with the most aggressive means – has created a cultural matrix of violence and fear, which at present nearly all of humanity more or less unconsciously follows. Duhm started out as a leading Marxist writer during the anti-imperialist struggles of the 1960s and 70s in Germany, when he asked himself how it could be that billions of people comply with and obey the rules of society without being forced to do so. 

Working as a psychoanalyst, he faced the same basic structure in all his patients – no matter whether they suffered depression, heartache or schizophrenia – deep-rooted existential fear. For Duhm, the consequence was clear: If we want to escape from the wetiko disease of our current capitalist culture, we need a credible concept for a new nonviolent global society and for transforming the old matrix of fear and violence into a new matrix of trust, compassion and cooperation. Healing wetiko would be nothing short of reinventing our entire civilization and basing human existence on new social, ethical, spiritual and sexual foundations allowing profound trust between people as well as between humans and animals. In 1978 Duhm started out with a group of people to engage in an interdisciplinary research project for social and ecological sustainability to develop precisely such a concept. Having witnessed the failure of countless communes in the 1970s, most due to unresolved interpersonal conflicts around money, power and sex, the project focused its cultural experiment on creating new social structures able to resolve the psychological substratum of fear. 

In order to subjugate people under their systems of dominance, patriarchal rulers systematically destroyed tribal communities, thereby inflicting a profound collective trauma onto humanity. As we are reaching the pinnacle of a culture of global wetiko, the last throes of late-stage capitalism, healing our collective trauma, re-establishing functioning communities based on trust, and making our human existence compatible with the biosphere and nature again, may well be our only opportunity to secure ourselves and our children a future worth living on Spaceship Earth. 

Keywords: [“fear”,”people”,”Human”]
Source: http://terranovavoice.tamera.org/2016/07/dreaming-beyond-capitalism-a…

Essays-960329 Economic Growth

The Clinton administration and Democratic congressional leaders are so bereft of ideas that they can only propose an increase in the minimum wage! The Republican leadership, Bob Dole in the Senate and Newt Gingrich in the House, has shamefully given up again on even a minor adjustment in the capital gains tax – the one growth ingredient of their 1994 mandate. Now carry the impressions forward to the modern mechanisms of the market- the banks, credit unions, insurance companies, stock and bond markets, and all other market elements that can extend or withhold capital. Unhappily, the western economists who advise the democratic government of Boris Yeltsin have little appreciation for the role the market plays in assessing macroeconomic tax and monetary risks to capital investment. The capital gains tax is not the only tax that bears upon the market’s assessment of ROI, but it is by far the most important. 

The market mechanisms that absorb and dispense capital must cope with the monetary variable in reckoning the true after-tax ROI. Riskier enterprises cannot hope to find capital and credit in an inflationary environment, even without the compounding effect via capital gains taxation, because sources of capital simply disappear. Sources of capital become more plentiful in a deflationary environment, but those who might otherwise employ that capital are discouraged by its high real interest costs in a world of falling nominal prices. As a matter of simple arithmetic, the risks to capital in a combination of inflation and unindexed capital gains are at a maximum. In a U.S. 

economy that would suddenly shift to a gold-standard with no tax on capital gains, untapped capital would rapidly flow into the marketplace and be dispensed according to a steepening schedule of risks. A mature enterprise that has all or most of its capital gains behind it does not need a gold standard or zero capital gains taxation in order to coax working capital out of those who have it, promising to repay it with interest or dividends. The most worrisome complication for Big Business is that policy changes that enhance the flow of capital to the market put upward pressure on the price of labor. The American Council for Capital Formation, for example, is a Big Business Washington lobby, which technically supports a lower tax on capital gains, but which spends little of its time or resources toward that end. A dramatic increase in the flow of capital to the market would have the unusual effect of eliminating jobs over time. 

Keywords: [“capital”,”market”,”tax”]
Source: http://polyconomics.com/essays/esy-960329.htm

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 04-11-2018

Zombie Apocalypse / Analysis

Common to virtually all Zombie Apocalypse tales is that, regardless of the reason zombies attack living/non-infected people, they never attack other zombies. Any truly large-scale zombie apocalypse is likely to demand a heavy degree of Hollywood Tactics or handling of the Idiot Ball by the military. Overwhelmingly, zombie apocalypse stories tend to fall into one of two categories of political allegory. The zombie horror can be used to make a political statement against consumer capitalism, with zombies representing the bulk of humanity as unthinking sheep. The bite of a zombie is infectious, and is always a fatal injury, even if it seems a trivial scratch. This results in the victim returning as a zombie, much to the horror of the Zombie Infectee, though this is essentially coincidental, as zombification would equally result had the infectee died of, say, rabies. It is generally the case that a single zombie is not a tremendous threat, owning largely to the previous two rules. Zombiism results only from being bitten by another zombie, though event zero created the first zombie that starts off the chain reaction. Most non-Romero zombie films prefer this convention to Romero’s, including the recent remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. A zombie bite results in zombification, though the transition is slow, with the victim becoming progressively more zombie-like. Often, zombie apocalypse stories are tied with a Science Is Bad message, or an allegory about human nature. The Zombie Apocalypse is so iconic that perfectly sane people will formulate emergency survival plans in case of shambling corpses. Zombie films have an ace in the hole for directors, too.

Keywords: [“Zombie”,”human”,”brain”]
Source: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Analysis/ZombieApocalypse

compassionate conservativism

In is his view that the Pope seems to fear Capitalism, with the apparent ‘worship of wealth’ more than Socialism, with the inevitable worship of government. Let me start with Our Lady’s promise of a conversion of Russia. Russia has been ruled for centuries by the czars, a royalist form of government that the Western world had started to reject in the 18th century. From 1917 to 1991 Russia and its surrounding countries emerged as the imperialistic Soviet Empire with nuclear teeth. If Russia’s conversion were to eventually take place, it would have to be a complete social, economic and most importantly religious transformation. Since Mary is an important figure in Catholicism I would think that a conversion would entail that Russia rejoin the Catholic Church it left in the 11th century. At Notre Dame President Barack Obama opined in 2009 that practical atheism was the working religion of governments and by inference, economies. The pope need only to look to his own country of Argentina to see what big government interference does to a population. In the United States capitalism flourishes and all boats rise when there are logical and humane rules that limit the excesses of capitalism and promote more of the general welfare. One might even borrow George W. Bush’s phrase of a compassionate conservative into a compassionate capitalism. Government acts merely as a referee that sets fair and equitable laws that will not favor big business, big labor or big government. Maybe too many opposite currents of thought have come down the pike since then but this is the way things ought to be and that’s what we can all hope and pray for, but not just in Russia.

Keywords: [“government”,”Russia”,”more”]
Source: https://bbprof.wordpress.com/tag/compassionate-conservativism

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Keywords: [“Download”,”pdf”,”keyword”]
Source: http://www.sixsensespsychicreadings.com/compassionate-capitalism-how…

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 04-03-2018

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey On “Conscious capitalism”

Starting my own business was kind of a wakeup call in a number of different ways. We had to… The wages were under competitive pressures, so there was all this competition on us that of course made operating the business successfully difficult. It’s kind of like having to meet a payroll and having to meet the demands of our customers is a great destroyer of utopian fantasies and utopian ideologies. I just found that the belief system that I had going into operating that business was inadequate to explain the experiences that I was having in business and I began to look around and read other books and other philosophies to try to make sense out of my life and out of my business experience and it was really through encountering the free market capitalist philosophies of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and many other free market philosophers that I came to realize that this explanation made a lot more sense in my business experience and made more sense in terms of how the world really operated and so that is when my worldview began to shift and I began to let go of being sort of a democratic socialist. John Mackey: Any type of political ideology is going to have a lot of different variants of it, a lot of different…. Libertarians are constantly arguing with each other who is the most pure libertarian and who is most ideologically pure. What I resist… one of the strains of libertarianism and that I reject: I reject the idea that human kind is essentially selfish, not only as an observation that we frequently are selfish, but there is a strain of belief, particularly in the Ayn Rand part of the movement that believes people ought to be selfish, that that is a virtue, that humans are always self interested and altruism is evil and love is something that makes us weak. I’m a caring, compassionate person and I believe that free markets and free minds leads to the greatest human flourishing, so I really want humans to flourish and I believe liberty and market economies and capitalism are the best strategies for full human flourishing. John Mackey: I do believe that many libertarians are animated by human flourishing. They… we sincerely believe that human flourishing… That we need to be free and that we need to be creative, and that through human freedom entrepreneurship that humans are creative; they create new ways of creating value for each other that expresses the self through the economic system and leads to greater prosperity, not for a few, but for most people and eventually all people. So there is a strain of deep idealism in the libertarian movement. It’s again sometimes masked over by that ideology of selfishness, but the human flourishing element is definitely a big aspect of I think of the motivational structure of many libertarians. John Mackey: I think the zero-sum worldview is the predominate one.

Keywords: [“human”,”business”,”flourish”]
Source: http://www.valuewalk.com/2018/02/whole-foods-ceo-john-mackey

Capitalism and the Free Society, Part 1

For the classical liberal, the most fundamental property right possessed by an individual is to his own person. Now if the individual has a right to his life and his liberty, and to the fruits of his own labor – the harvested crop – then it logically follows that this individual has an equally just private property right in the tools, implements and equipment that he has produced through his mental and physical labor to assist him in his productive efforts. Capitalism is an economic system based on the principle of every individual’s right to his own life, his own liberty and his own honestly acquired property. The capitalist system also is based on the principle that the recognition of every individual’s right to his own life and liberty requires that all human relationships and associations be established through voluntary consent and mutual agreement. To have production goods in the economic sense, i.e. to make them serve one’s own economic purposes, it is not necessary to have them physically in the way that one must have consumption goods if one is to use them up or to use them lastingly. To drink coffee I do not need to own a coffee plantation in Brazil, an ocean liner, and a coffee roasting plant, though all these means of production must be used to bring a cup of coffee to my table. In the society that divides labor no one is exclusive owner of the means of production, either of the material things or of the personal element, capacity to work. The individual who owns nothing but the labor of his own mind and body is able to sell his talents and abilities for what others may consider them to be worth, either in directly satisfying some others’ consumer demands or in assisting an employer in producing a product to be sold to consumers in the marketplace. With the wages earned for services rendered, this individual who owns nothing but himself now has the outputs of the world placed before him by all the other private owners of various means of production who can only earn revenues and income by finding interested and willing buyers for the goods and services they offer on the market. In their own self-interests, so they also may demand the outputs of others in the arena of market exchange, the owners of the physical means of production must apply themselves in their producer roles to successfully fulfill the consumer wants and desires of everyone else in the society. Just as each of us helps in determining everyone else’s relative income position when we spend portions of our own earned income on various goods we desire and for which we are willing to pay. The capitalist system generates the institutional framework and incentive structure that leaves everyone free as an individual to live his own life, enjoy his personal liberty, and use his private property as his peacefully and honestly considers best for his own betterment.

Keywords: [“own”,”individual”,”other”]
Source: https://www.cobdencentre.org/2017/11/capitalism-and-the-free…

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 03-29-2018

A Christmas Carol Themes

The financial success that Scrooge enjoyed is precisely the goal of capitalism, but a fixation on the accumulation of wealth seduced Scrooge into seeing every aspect of life in such terms. Not only Christmas, but his fiancé, his dying friend and business partner, his reputation, his office staff, and his only living family member are all weighed against their financial cost and found unworthy. The costs of such selfishness and bitterness are not borne by Scrooge alone, however. Dickens’s portrayal of the social costs-prisons, workhouses, increased mortality, the creation of ghettos and slums, the miserable state of both wealthy and poor alike-clearly makes a case for morality and social justice on a larger scale. The world becomes a better place almost immediately following Scrooge’s conversion. The story implies that a renewed connection to humanity is the very essence of redemption. Though the Christmas setting invites a traditional Christian interpretation of Scrooge’s redemption, his change is rooted not in a commitment to deeper spirituality or orthodoxy but in an authentic connection to and investment in the lives of other human beings. While the results seem to change nothing about the social structure itself, the compassion shown by individual people changes the social relationships they share.

Keywords: [“social”,”Scrooge”,”Christmas”]
Source: https://www.enotes.com/topics/christmas-carol/themes

For Equal Rights by Sophie M. Gray

In the world of today, where you have a racist neo-nazi uprising in Europe, where Trump gets a free pass in saying racists slurs, and ISIS talks about global domination, I see history repeating itself – over and over again. I have over the years tried to understand what it is that gets millions of people to follow such a man and do horrible unthinkable things. I wanted to understand how it was possible for this one man to convince millions to believe his own reality and perception, acting on his beliefs, and follow him blindly. I came to realise that Hitler is not the only one with this power, and this is why history keeps repeating itself. In all cases they use fear to recruit more into their movement and convince them about the cause, a cause they would die and kill for. Fear is a powerful emotion, and from there comes hate. A lot of this fear comes from lack of knowledge, the fear of the unknown. Leaders that preach war and hate use fear to reach their goals and start movements. With fear they make people believe their cause, and with fear they win. Our strongest tool against these movements is knowledge and critical thinking. That is how we stop governments cheating us, companies abusing us, global wars and bullies. We have therefore the obligation to each other to spread knowledge – not fear.

Keywords: [“fear”,”over”,”knowledge”]
Source: https://forequalrights.wordpress.com/tag/capitalism

discordion {Artist Ian Pritchard}

Here’s the list of companies that took advantage of taxpayer-funded workers courtesy of the DWP. Feel free to use the information in whatever way you see fit. The Tory government has been forced to reveal a vast list of firms that hoovered up free labour from benefit claimants after spending four years trying to keep it a secret. Poundstretcher, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are among more than 500 companies, charities and councils named as having used Mandatory Work Activity. Others on the list from 2011 included payday loans firm Cash Converters, chicken diner Nando’s, WH Smith, Superdrug and DHL. More than 100,000 jobseekers were put on the hated ‘workfare’ scheme, which forced them to work 30-hour weeks unpaid for a month each or have their benefits docked. The Department for Work and Pensions mounted an astonishing and costly legal battle to keep the firms’ names a secret. The DWP stood its ground for nearly four years despite being overruled by the Information Commissioner watchdog in August 2012. The saga finally ended at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday – where a trio of top judges threw out the DWP’s argument by a 2-1 vote. Campaigners and Labour condemned the vast cost of the cover-up – in which taxpayers had to fund lawyers for both the DWP and ICO..

Keywords: [“Work”,”DWP”,”firm”]
Source: https://discordion.wordpress.com/tag/capitalism

Mental wellbeing, capitalism and fluminism. Notes.

Photo by me On social media, I read of a woman who recently experienced rejection from mental health services during a crisis of severe distress and suicidal thoughts. I know something of the absolute fear and isolation suffered during times of severe distress and suicidal thoughts. Humans are biologically social beings, yet our social foundations have been shaken to the core. Families and institutional service providers have been hammered by the pressures of a failing economic system ~ Neoliberal Capitalism. A globalised machine based on competition rides roughshod over mental wellbeing. Tensions manifest directly upon loving and supporting relationships, right across the globe. Humans are biologically responding to internal and external stimuli. The externals are largely ignored in our systems of care. Even the monetisation of nature is being forced at a pace, adopted by advocates of a growth-oriented market system dominated by corporate interests. Lives are worn down and snuffed out by competitive examinations, interviews, PIPS, job markets, mortgage payments, rents, bills, the weekly shop. I will not accept all-out competition is the god-given ‘natural state’ of human existence. We can perpetuate and proliferate positive interconnections between all living beings.

Keywords: [“human”,”system”,”market”]
Source: https://seasonalight.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/mental-wellbeing…

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 03-19-2018

Compassionate Activism

In our new age, Earth and Human are entangled irrevocably together. The term – which appears to have been used by Russian scientists as early as the 1960s to refer to the Quaternary, the most recent geological Period – was coined with a different sense in the 1980s by ecologist Eugene F. Stoermer and has been widely popularized by atmospheric chemist, Paul Crutzen, who regards the influence of human behaviour on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries as so significant as to constitute a new geological epoch for its lithosphere. Human activity had to be at least tempered, rendered in the new jargon ‘sustainable’. A new mode of being human is required, one that is profoundly responsible for all it does, but must be profoundly attentive to the new agent stirring and moving all around us – the Earth itself. We have entered a world of inter-agency between the human and the non-human Earth. From once believing ourselves humans free upon a stable nature to do as we wish we find ourselves newly earth-bound, tied into the Earth itself, as part of it. The objectivity underlying the emergence of the Anthropocene does not nevertheless deliver us automatically into new modes of presence on the Earth, new forms of inter-species and human justice. If the Anthropocene serves as a new frame within which to view and construct social modes of presence then we must accept our collective responsibility for our human status as geological drivers of our planet. The new human subject is no longer in nature – they are nature. As social theorist Bruno Latour has said: ‘There is indeed a war for the definition and control of the Earth: a war that pits – to be a little dramatic – Humans living in the Holocene against Earthbound living in the Anthropocene’.

Keywords: [“human”,”new”,”Earth”]
Source: https://markgar.wordpress.com

compassion – States, Power, Emotion

As the film shows this is state enforced misery through inadequacy building exercises into the psyches of state recipients. As the experience of those seeking welfare shows, the rules for claiming state support are permanently in motion. The lower the state intervenes into the social fabric the more the ‘system’ becomes opaque without clear norms, values and rules. At the lowest levels of state activity we are more likely to glimpse bewilderment, dislocation and disruption in our lives rather than clearly discernible norms and rules in operation. There has always been an aspect of state power that has a post- or pre-disciplinary aspect – an order that is based on incalculability and the introduction of trauma. Wolfgang Sofsky called it ‘the order of terror’ and it is apparent to degrees in all modern states. Such displays of state power lack clear goals or meaning. The welfare benefits office is not Auschwitz but it is interesting how the same techniques of power based on the incomprehensibility of the rules and the forceful disorientation of the ruled come into play as tactics of power: the constant re-writing and redefining of who is ‘eligible’, ‘worthy’ and ‘deserving’ of state support; the slippery changes in language – ‘claimant’, ‘Jobseeker’, ‘unemployed’; the bewildering variety of ‘restart’ training exercises and the ever-present surveillance and repetitive intelligence-gathering exercises into the lives of those out of work. As the film attests to the misery and trauma built into state ‘support’ it also attests to the anger, integrity and compassion of Daniel and ‘family’ as they fight and live with state barbarism. It’s a call for a more, not less, emotional state – one based on compassion, empathy and trust.

Keywords: [“state”,”rule”,”welfare”]
Source: https://emotionalstates.wordpress.com/tag/compassion

The Capitalism Site

Capitalism is the moral ideal Capitalism is the moral social system as it leaves the individual free to be virtuous – to pursue the good – by acting by reason. Individualism regards the individual as a sovereign being Individualism is not opposed to one living in society as a trader; it is opposed to one living as a slave. The trader principle is the basis of all moral relationships Individualism is based on the principle of trading value for value for mutual benefit. Individual rights define one’s freedom of action in a social context All rights are rights to freedom of action: the right to those actions necessary to rationally support one’s life – so long as one does not violate the equal rights of others. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law. The initiation of physical force is the only way to violate rights The individual can only be stopped from acting rationally by the initiation of physical force. Government’s purpose is to protect individual rights Government’s job is to ban the initiation of physical force from all relationships, making all relationships voluntary. A free-market is an economic system based on individual rights A free-market bans physical force, fraud, and coercion from all economic relationships, resulting in voluntary cooperation between buyers and sellers, and peaceful competition between buyers and between sellers. Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage, according to their own independent, uncoerced judgment. Capitalism is the system of progress; statism is the system of plunder The alleged failures of capitalism are actually caused by the success of statism.

Keywords: [“right”,”individual”,”force”]
Source: http://capitalism.org

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 02-23-2018

Compassion and the Real Meaning of the Golden Rule – Brain Pickings

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect. We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. Compassion can’t be enacted without first grasping its essence in a way that reclaims it from the realm of abstraction and makes it an actionable quality. Compassion is aptly summed up in the Golden Rule, which asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. Compassion can be defined as an attitude of principled, consistent altruism. The immense public veneration of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama shows that people are hungry for a more compassionate and principled form of leadership But in many ways compassion is alien to our modern way of life. Armstrong laments – and I wistfully agree – that compassion has slipped woefully low in our hierarchy of cultural priorities.

Keywords: [“compassion”,”treat”,”human”]
Source: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/01/08/karen-armstrong-compassion

‘Compassionate’ Conservatism Was a Mistake

Today there is a categorical difference between what Republicans stand for and the principles of individual freedom. Too often the policy agenda was determined by short-sighted political considerations and an abiding fear that the public simply would not understand limited government and expanded individual freedoms. The modern Republican Party has risen above its insecurities to achieve political success. Small government conservatism was, by definition, compassionate – offering every American a way up to self-determination and economic prosperity. Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 because voters no longer saw Republicans as the party of limited government. Their failure to do so must not be misconstrued as a rejection of principles of individual liberty by the American people. The evidence suggests we are still a nation of pocketbook conservatives most happy when government has enough respect to leave us alone and to mind its own business. Of course, FDR’s election ushered in the New Deal, the most dramatic expansion of government power in American history, together with policy changes and economic uncertainty that inhibited investment and growth and locked in massive unemployment for nearly a generation. In 1992, Republican backbenchers including Newt Gingrich, myself, Bob Walker and John Boehner rose up to challenge the Clinton administration’s agenda on taxes, spending and government-run health care. We captured control of Congress in 1994 because we had confidence in our principles, and in the American people’s willingness to understand and reward a national vision based on lower taxes, less government and more freedom.

Keywords: [“government”,”Republican”,”American”]
Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122602742263407769

Better World Quotes

“Democracy” is one of the most important principles for a better world. Economic freedom – not democracy, and not ecological stewardship – is the defining metaphor of the WTO and its central goal is humanity’s mastery of the natural world through its total commodification. Democracy needs support and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies. The real world of American society is one which it is very misleading to call simply a democracy. “If our modern world should be able to recapture this power, the earth’s natural resources and web of life would not be irrevocably wasted within the Twentieth century.True democracy founded in neighborhoods and reaching over the world become the realized heaven on earth. And living peace, not just an interlude between wars, would be born and would last through the ages.” – John Collier. The modern infrastructures that exists in the world all contribute to the advancement of human rights and democracy. As a people, we need to rise to the level of forcing our leaders to abide by our stated principles – really exercise democracy, not only on our behalf but on behalf of the world. “Peace cannot exist without justice, justice cannot exist without fairness, fairness cannot exist without development, development cannot exist without democracy, democracy cannot exist without respect for the identity and worth of cultures and peoples. Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. Most of the poverty and misery in the world is due to bad government, lack of democracy, weak states, internal strife, and so on.

Keywords: [“Democracy”,”people”,”Democratic”]
Source: http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/democracy-quotes.htm

Henderson Hallway

Canada is a perplexing concept; our country can often be conceptualized in shimmering positivity, and then, upon closer inspection can be dragged through the dusty and bloody streets of reality. MacLennan’s Two Solitudes is an obvious example of cultural paradoxes within the “Narrative” of Canada, as is the the story of the Winnipeg General Strike. In recent weeks, I have also been struck by an increasingly larger divide in Canada that is often left unarticulated – that is our image as a massive expanse of natural beauty contrasted with our 400 year history of resource exploitation. What follows in the film is a shocking barrage of the treatment of the first peoples of Canada and the land itself. The fellow in the coffee shop who works for Suncor, is part of a system of resource exploitation that destroys these vast and wild lands. As Canada delves further into oil sands development, pipeline construction, and dependence on fossil fuels, so too continues the dichotomy of Canada. No, Canada’s sick duality can only be synthesized into a sustainable vision through social and political action. Canada’s reputation in the global community has soured as of late; we no longer lead in peacekeeping, we rank first in deforestation, and our record on treating our indigenous peoples speaks for itself. I would reckon that we have an opportunity to build a better Canada – one that is sustainable, innovative, compassionate, and inclusive. First we need to take the collective action necessary to shed the dichotomies of the past and create one singular and positive vision based on respect for the land and each other.

Keywords: [“Canada”,”first”,”land”]
Source: https://hendersonhallway.wordpress.com/category/capitalism

J.R.’s Zaphne Blog News for 02-18-2018

Compassionate Capitalism-Part 2

Is Human Nature Competitive or Cooperative? |

Another Victorian scientist, Herbert Spencer, coined the term “Survival of the fittest”, applying it to human society, claiming that competition is our fundamental nature. In 1966, Austrian ethnologist Konrad Lorenz published a bestseller called On Aggression in which he argued that human beings are innately aggressive, competitive, possessive and violent. A decade later evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene, about the human instinct for self-preservation; it sold over a million copies, and was translated into more than 25 languages. People who argue that “You can’t change human nature” make the mistake of assuming that because people are led to behave in a certain way in a capitalist society, that behavior reflects the essential nature of human beings. Therefore such people conclude that this behavior is natural for all human beings and that it is impossible to establish a society based on anything except a competitive struggle for private profit. Robert Augros and George Stanciu, in their book The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom of Nature, found that in fact cooperation, not competition, is the norm in nature, because it is energy-efficient and because predators and their prey maintain a kind of balanced coexistence. Today most anthropologists and psychologists assert that the question of nature or nurture is not an either/or issue, but one of interrelation-ship. We are born with certain instincts and tendencies, but through education, upbringing and our own conscious choices, we can transform our conduct, nature and personality. Firefighters, soldiers, human rights advocates and accidental heroes may endanger themselves or even sacrifice their lives in order to save others. As part of the science of yoga, relevant to the idea of improving human behavior, Sarkar used the term “Bio-psychology” to describe how the glands, nerves and brain of the body affect our behaviors, thoughts and feelings.

Keywords: [“cooperation”,”human”,”nature”]
Source: http://proutglobe.org/2012/10/is-human-nature-competitive-or-cooperative

What We Owe Capitalism, In One Graph

As you can see, that number has dropped rather dramatically, starting as Communism began to fall and more of the world was able to benefit from economic freedom. It shows the relative number between those living in extreme poverty and those who do not, taking account of the massive increase in world population since 1820. The world has grown from about 1 billion people in 1820 to 7.5 billion today. It’s a tiny fraction today of what it was then, indeed a relatively small fraction of today’s population, and it’s dropping fast. Thomas Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb for free, nor did he – or J.P. Morgan, or George Westinghouse – throw vast personal resources at electrifying the world’s businesses and homes randomly. They were creating ex nihilo, literally bringing light to darkness, and opening up vast worlds of possibility in the process. If the left’s theories were true, not only would this graph show a completely different economic story, but almost all of the people represented on this graph would be dead, or never would have been born in the first place. All of pre-Capitalist human history, for thousands and thousands of years, were as horribly impoverished, with the tiniest possible group of “Haves” above the largest possible group of “Have-nots”, as the world was in 1820: indeed, most of it was quite a lot worse. What changed? The miraculous incentive-based system we call Capitalism, or economic freedom, which makes even the most selfish strive with all their abilities to improve the world around them. Third, the rise of global population, which we were promised meant that all of the world’s resources must necessarily be spread thinner over vastly increasing numbers with each passing year, thus inevitably bringing not merely famine but a consequent vast reduction in population, not to mention a standard of living for the survivors far beneath that of the Dark Ages.

Keywords: [“world”,”population”,”today”]
Source: http://rodmartin.org/owe-capitalism-one-graph

O’ the Compassions of Capitalism |Other Blog

While at work yesterday, I noticed a new line of products that BR is releasing referred to as their Green line. This line of products is currently being sent out to various stores in a trial run to see how it sells in different areas, ultimately to find the most successful locations and strategically place them there. Now, the characteristics that distinguish this line is that they, both the item and price tag, are made with “Sustainable fibers” that are “Eco-friendly.” To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised when I first saw this in our store given the growing national concern for issues of social injustice that is increasingly being worked into the marketing world. This is a product line that was created by Bono and Bobby Schriver, chairman of DATA, that contributes a certain percentage of the revenue to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Various companies can sign on and distribute their own Red Products. Back to the previous discussion of the BR “Green” line. Organic and Sustainable New Products: Banana Republic values the opinions and ideals of our customers. That’s why we responded when we learned customers wanted eco-friendlier products. Notice the reasoning – Because BR values the “Opinions” and “Ideals” of their customers, they responded by giving them what they wanted in the creation of “Eco-friendlier products.” I find it incredibly ironic that commodities such as this “Green” line are able to be promoted and praised for their compassionate concern when in reality these “Concerns” are set in terms of an inherently dehumanizing, capitalist system that can only function “Successfully” if commodities are peddled to consumers, and all others in the market are reduced to competitors. Now, I am sure that many of the people involved in this “Green” line, and many other product lines like it, are very well intentioned.

Keywords: [“product”,”line”,”Eco-friendly”]
Source: https://ericroorback.wordpress.com/…/o-the-compassions-of-capitalism