Sandpit

June 28th, 2016

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. June 28th, 2016 at 15:26 | #1

    A proposal to evolve financial systems with low cost high value distributed loans.


    https://kevinrosscox.me/2016/06/28/distributed-loans-for-a-low-cost-financial-system/

  2. Ikonoclast
    June 28th, 2016 at 17:37 | #2

    Conspiracy Theory.

    As usual I will go to the “People’s Encyclopedia” for a general definition.

    “A conspiracy theory is an explanatory or speculative hypothesis suggesting that two or more persons, or an organization, have conspired to cause or cover up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an event or situation typically regarded as illegal or harmful. The term conspiracy theory has derogatory connotations, suggesting explanations that invoke conspiracies without warrant, often producing hypotheses that contradict the prevailing understanding of historical events or simple facts.” – Wikipedia.

    I have drawn some ire from supporters of Paul Craig Roberts for criticism of him as “seems like a nutty, conspiracy theorist to me.”

    “Roberts comments on the “scientific impossibility” of the official explanation for the events on 9/11. On August 18, 2006, he wrote:

    I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to “pancake” at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false…. ” – Wikipedia.

    Roberts is careful. His theory accepts a “pancake” collapse (the clear mechanism) but he asserts the WTC buildings pancake at free fall speed (free fall speed being a feature of a good controlled demolition). Roberts free fall speed claim is in fact demonstrably false. The buildings’ larger ejected debris falls at free fall speed and this gives a superficial illusion of freefall speed as the eye follows ejected debris. The buildings’ ejected dust (again at the moving front of the pancake collape, does not fall at freefall speed due to air resistance and it forms a curtain which obscures the actual pancake collapse front. With the actual pancake collapse front obscured by billowing inchoate dust clouds, the eye (and any superficial instrument measurement) has only the ejected freefalling debris to follow.

    The rest of Roberts’ absurd argument collapses from this point. This link contains a video which demonstrates IIRC at least 5 to 7 differences between a controlled demolition and the top-down pancake collapse of WTC buildings.

    http://www.debunking911.com/collapse.htm

    With Roberts’ reputation and reliability sunk by these clear facts we can immediately place him as
    “a nutty, conspiracy theorist” on this issue at least. The fact that he says and writes many other political things that left-wingers, like myself and others, agree with does not absolve him from this charge on this empirically testable matter. When a political theorist is going to heavily question the status quo narrative on political economy matters (which needs to be done), he or she should be careful to ensure conspiracy claims are not contradicted by pure physics and engineering.

  3. Ivor
    June 28th, 2016 at 17:53 | #3

    @Ikonoclast

    Being a denialist or having wacky ideas or disseminating absurb arguments has nothing to do with conspiracy.

  4. David Allen
    June 28th, 2016 at 18:39 | #4

    @Ikonoclast

    I always thought that whatever the mechanism of the collapse of the 3 buildings it did indicate that those buildings were not soundly built. I wonder how many other similar buildings there are that will collapse so readily. Remember that the original designer bragged about the buildings ability to survive a strike by a 707. 0 for 3 is not a pass mark. The designers/builders should have been investigated for negligence.

  5. J-D
    June 28th, 2016 at 19:42 | #5

    James pointed to a piece written by Paul Craig Roberts on his website, which in turn pointed to an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard published in The Telegraph (UK), which in turn cited American government documents declassified shortly before that time.

    Those documents are reported to show that the CIA funnelled money to European organisations promoting closer European integration. That’s highly plausible.

    What both James and Paul Craig Roberts apparently fail to understand is that ‘the CIA funnelled money to European organisations promoting closer European integration’ is not the same as ‘the CIA created those organisations’ or ‘the CIA made closer European integration happen’. Some people in the US wanted closer European integration to happen, but so did some people in Europe. One organisation mentioned as receiving CIA funding is the European Movement. This organisation still exists and there’s a page about it on Wikipedia, which mentions some of the (European) people who played a part in creating it: Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Bertrand Russell, François Mitterrand, Paul-Henri Spaak, Albert Coppé, Altiero Spinelli, Duncan Sandys, Léon Blum, Alcide De Gasperi. There is no evidence that all these people were CIA agents. They worked for European integration because they thought it was a good idea for Europe, not because the CIA was giving them orders. It’s still possible that what they were doing was actually a bad idea, but not for the preposterous reasons given by Paul Craig Roberts.

  6. Ikonoclast
    June 28th, 2016 at 19:54 | #6

    @David Allen

    I’m not sure I agree with you but I am not a building engineer so my opinion is not definitive.

    The towers could in fact withstand a 707 impact or equivalent at or near the top. At least one tower was hit by a 767 (about the same weight and fuel load potential as a 707) and the tower still stood after being hit. There are reports that Al-Qaeda planners naively expected to knock the buildings over. That did not happen. They still stood, smoking and burning in the damaged floors, for some time after impact.

    The physical impact left the buildings standing. Airframes crumple and shred relatively easily at low alt cruise speeds when hitting solid objects. However, these aircraft were flying incendiary bombs. It has been estimated that both UA Flight 175 and AA Flight 11 were carrying about 10,000 gallons of fuel when they impacted. This fuel load was injected into the interiors of several floors. The fuel load would have been finely splattered and possibly aerosoled. There may have been an initial explosion effect which mimicked a very poorly performing fuel-air bomb (thermobaric bomb) though this is speculative on my part.

    More commonly it is considered that the intense ensuing fire expanded horizontal trusses causing vertical columns to bow. Bowed columns then fail under the weight of the structure above, eventually dropping one floor and starting the pancake collapse.

    There is always the question of how much designers must over-engineer a structure to withstand extreme, unlikely events. Should they have anticipated this mechanism of collapse from an instant intense fire event on several floors simultaneously and perhaps preceded by a sort of poor thermobaric blast or a quasi-BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion) of 10,000 US gallons of Jet fuel, a type of kerosene? It’s asking a lot but then again they have now learned a lot.

  7. June 29th, 2016 at 00:37 | #7

    Perhaps Ikonoclast should invest any spare money he has into a remake of the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno” and show how wrong were the producers of the original film about fires in high rise buildings.

  8. James A
    June 29th, 2016 at 02:30 | #8

    The Member for Warringah will have to prove he renounced his British citizenship to certify his reelection. Might make for an interesting post election bi election et al.

  9. Ikonoclast
    June 29th, 2016 at 08:43 | #9

    @James

    Are you saying the Towering Inferno movie script writers were engineering experts? Are you drawing your evidence for “that couldn’t happen” (re the pancake collapse) from Hollywood fiction? Or are you saying the engineering plans of the WTC and the engineering reports on the collapses which are all on public record and can be verified, cross-checked and even computer simulated in structural engineering computer simulation programs… are all fakes? In any case, you do know different skyscraper buildings can have different internal load bearing designs in terms of where they transfer the main loads and how they do that? This means their vulnerabilities vary against specific accidents and incidents.

    The evidence against controlled demolition of the WTCs to coincide with the plane impacts is overwhelming. If conspiracy theorists had any brains they would take one step back in the chain and claim that the planes indeed brought down the towers but the terrorists who flew the planes were CIA funded and controlled. At least there is not overwhelming physical and engineering evidence in the public arena against that theory. And perhaps some conspiracy theorists have made such claims, I don’t know.

  10. Ikonoclast
    June 29th, 2016 at 09:44 | #10

    Addendum to above, read;

    Structural Developments in Tall Buildings: Current Trends and Future Prospects –
    Mir M. Ali & Kyoung Sun Moon.

    http://sydney.edu.au/architecture/documents/publications/ASR/Structural%20Developments%20in%20Tall%20Buildings.pdf

    Some excerpts;

    “In terms of structural systems, most tall buildings in the early twentieth century employed steel rigid frames with wind bracing. Among them are the renowned Woolworth Building of 1913, Chrysler Building of 1930 and Empire State Building of 1931 all in New York (Ali, 2005). Their enormous heights at that time were accomplished not through notable technological evolution, but through excessive use of structural materials. Due to the absence of advanced structural analysis techniques, they were quite over-designed.”

    “Structural systems for tall buildings have undergone dramatic changes since the demise of the conventional rigid frames in the 1960s as the predominant type of structural system for steel or concrete tall buildings.”

    Also worth looking at page 4 diagrams in Classification of Tall Building Structural
    Systems. Not all tall buildings are created equal so comparing WTC performance to fictional buildings or the Empire State building (as some do) makes no sense at all.

  11. June 29th, 2016 at 09:45 | #11

    Perhaps, the “Towering inferno” script writers, unlike Ikonoclast, were aware that no high-rise building had ever collapsed as a result of fire. Until 9 September 2011, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire.

    Then suddenly on 9/11 three high rise buildings collapse on the one day supposedly as a result of fire!

    A “conspiracy theorist” sees each of the twin towers being torn apart with explosive force, but unlike a “conspiracy theorist”, Ikonoclast, who is made of sterner moral and intellectual stuff, sees, for the first time ever, each steel-framed building collapse to the ground into two piles of rubble as a result of blazing flames, or to put it in Ikonoclast’s own newly contrived scientific theory:

    … [the 10,000 gallons of fuel] was injected into the interiors of several floors. The fuel load would have been finely splattered and possibly aerosoled. There may have been an initial explosion effect which mimicked a very poorly performing fuel-air bomb (thermobaric bomb) though this is speculative on my part. (my emphasis)

    More commonly it is considered that the intense ensuing fire expanded horizontal trusses causing vertical columns to bow. Bowed columns then fail under the weight of the structure above, eventually dropping one floor and starting the pancake collapse.

    “A conspiracy theorist” sees World Trade Center Building 7 collapse at free-fall speed like any controlled demolition. Ikonclast sees for the third time ever, on the same day, a steel structured building collapsing as a result of fire.

    A “conspiracy theorist” sees BBC reporter Jane Standley reporting that World Trade Center Building 7 has already collapsed with WTC7 being seen clearly standing in the background.

    Ikonoclast who has already been told what to think, sees nothing.

  12. J-D
    June 29th, 2016 at 11:45 | #12

    James :
    Perhaps, the “Towering inferno” script writers, unlike Ikonoclast, were aware that no high-rise building had ever collapsed as a result of fire. Until 9 September 2011, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire.

    Who told you that, and why do you believe them?

  13. Sancho
    June 29th, 2016 at 12:09 | #13

    Yep.

    Agencies and organisations that dropped the ball constantly throughout the Bush administration, and turned everything they touched into a self-defeating clusterfruck of incompetence and disorganisation, also coordinated with perfect precision to carry out an incredibly complex international terrorist conspiracy with near-perfect secrecy, and it was only discovered by a handful of people on the internet, non-experts in all fields related to the attack, many of whom also believe that the government is poisoning them with aerosol chemicals, that fluoride is a mind-control drug, and that all people in positions of power are in fact reptile aliens in disguise.

    Incidentally, are the LaRouchians running any candidates this year? I love those guys.

  14. Ikonoclast
    June 29th, 2016 at 12:22 | #14

    @James

    You don’t understand the basics of physics, engineering, empirical facts and logical argument. You are in denial of these basic facts and prefer crazy conspiracy theorising and arguments which run counter to verifiable hard science and hard professional knowledge in the public realm. It’s a waste time arguing with someone so irrational.

  15. June 29th, 2016 at 13:40 | #15

    J-D wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 11:45:

    Who told you that [Until 11 September 2001, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire], and why do you believe them?

    It’s a fact. I’ve looked on the Internet. If you think I am wrong, then feel free to search the Internet to prove me wrong.

    Ikonoclast wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 12:22:

    … It’s a waste time arguing with someone so irrational.

    So, you have chosen not to address the points I made above on June 29th, 2016 at 09:45?

    That’s fine by me. I didn’t start this ‘debate’. It started when you attempted to smear Paul Craig Roberts, on June 27th, 2016 at 21:18 in the Brexit discussion and above on June 28th, 2016 at 17:37. After I put his views on the European Union and on Brexit on June 27th, 2016 at 02:40. you wrote:

    Paul Graig Robert(sic) seems like a nutty, conspiracy theorist to me.

    With Roberts’ reputation and reliability sunk by these clear facts we can immediately place him as “a nutty, conspiracy theorist” on this issue at least.

  16. Tim Macknay
    June 29th, 2016 at 13:40 | #16

    @Ikonoclast
    You’ve sure opened up a can of worms with this one, Ikon. On the old Larvatus Prodeo blog a few years ago there was a thread in which the debate about September11 “Trutherism”, which included James and possibly some other commenters on this blog, ran for over 1,000 comments, as I recall. Enjoy! 🙂

  17. John Quiggin
    June 29th, 2016 at 13:44 | #17

    Trutherism is just a red herring planted by the House of Windsor to cover up their plots. Lyndon LaRouche has all the details.

  18. J-D
    June 29th, 2016 at 14:29 | #18

    James :
    J-D wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 11:45:

    Who told you that [Until 11 September 2001, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire], and why do you believe them?

    It’s a fact. I’ve looked on the Internet. If you think I am wrong, then feel free to search the Internet to prove me wrong.

    You believe it because you read it on the Internet? That’s good for a laugh.

    Ah-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Hee-hee-hoo-hoo-hee-hee-hee! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-hee-hee-hee! Ha-ha-hee! Hee-hee-ha-ha-hee!

    Do you believe everything you read on the Internet? I’ve read a lot of things on the Internet — some of them true and some of them false.

    But, okay, let’s see what I can find on the Internet. Right, here’s a website that says this:

    The statement that the WTC buildings were the first high-rise buildings to collapse from fire is deceptive because it purposely doesn’t take those factors into account.

    Do you believe that’s true because it’s on the Internet?

  19. June 29th, 2016 at 14:49 | #19

    Tim Macknay on June 29th, 2016 at 13:40,

    As I wrote above, I did not seek this ‘debate’ with Ikonoclast.

    Anyone with the will to find out the truth about 9/11 can do so for themselves.

    Those who choose to not look at the facts and the evidence are also free not to.

    Of course, I am still concerned that that BIG LIE, amongst many others, is still being promoted unquestioningly by the MSM, but, at least, these days a good deal of alternative media, including the Canadian web-site Global Research, helps people to see through it.

    As for the LavartusProdeo discussion, I now regret my actions back then.

    I can see now that endless, repetitive and overbearing argument serves no useful purpose. In fact, it could look to many, who share my views on 9/11, that I was doing so in order to discredit those who shared my views.

    I can only say I was motivated by anger. I could see how 9/11 had led to the illegal wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, with many hundreds of thousands of dead in the latter case.

    I was also angry that I myself had been taken in by the official account and consequently supported the ‘good war’ against Afghanistan (as did others who protested against the 2003 invasion of Iraq).

    So, if you are in contact with Mark Bahnisch, please convey to him my apologies, Tim Macknay.

  20. Ikonoclast
    June 29th, 2016 at 15:03 | #20

    John Quiggin :
    Trutherism is just a red herring planted by the House of Windsor to cover up their plots. Lyndon LaRouche has all the details.

    LOL, that’s a great one. Without checking on it occurs to me you made this up with tongue firmly planted in cheek OR it is equally possible that Lyndon LaRouche actually said it.

  21. tony lynch
    June 29th, 2016 at 16:40 | #21

    Surely the thing is that the investigation in to 9/11 wasn’t what it should have been. And why couldn’t it be, and wasn’t it, what it should have been?

  22. Ikonoclast
    June 29th, 2016 at 17:33 | #22

    @tony lynch

    I think I understand what you are inferring. Let me see if I can infer correctly.

    1. It wasn’t a US-CIA black flag operation.
    2. It possibly was a Saudi operation at some level?
    3. USA had no interest in 2 being fully uncovered.

  23. derrida derider
    June 29th, 2016 at 17:35 | #23

    @J-D
    JD is quite right. Just because the CIA threw some peppercorn money at a few lobby groups for it does not mean the EU is a CIA creation. Or does the fact that the KGB gave similar peppercorn money to some members of the nuclear disarmament movement (which it did) mean that nuclear disarmament was a KGB plot?

    Apart from anything else these sort of conspiracy theories vastly overstate the competence, as well as the powers, of the spooks.

  24. J-D
    June 29th, 2016 at 18:08 | #24

    tony lynch :
    Surely the thing is that the investigation in to 9/11 wasn’t what it should have been.

    Who told you that, and why do you believe them?

  25. Ivor
    June 29th, 2016 at 18:30 | #25

    @derrida derider

    Thank you for your foul insinuation.

    What evidence that the KGB did anything along these lines.

    Maybe you have just got overexcited at the number of times the word conspiracy has popped-up and just want to add to the farce.

  26. Tim Macknay
    June 29th, 2016 at 19:09 | #26

    @Ivor
    Oh, calm down. The cold war ended 25 years ago, FFS. Whether or not the KGB did give some money to peace activists, how is it a “foul insinuation” to say that they did? Or do you think it’s disgraceful to suggest that upright KGB officers would waste their time and Soviet money associating with dirty hippies?

  27. June 29th, 2016 at 19:19 | #27

    Thanks @tony lynch. Please don’t let the thought police on this page get to you.

    I note that J-D has yet to provide, as I asked him to on June 29th, 2016 at 13:40, a single example of a high rise building being totally destroyed by fire other than those three World Trade Center buildings that he claims were all destroyed by fire on 11 September 2001.

    I also note that, as Ikonoclast won’t be ‘wasting’ any more time arguing with me, we won’t be getting a response from him to my post of June 29th, 2016 at 09:45. Would anyone else like to respond?

  28. Ivor
    June 29th, 2016 at 19:19 | #28

    @Tim Macknay

    Why are you riding shotgun for this individual.

    Why should anyone make such a insinuation and not be called to account?

    So what is the evidence?

  29. Tim Macknay
    June 29th, 2016 at 19:34 | #29

    @Tim Macknay
    I’m not aware of any evidence. FWIW, Wikipedia says that during the Cold War, Western intelligence agencies were generally skeptical of suggestions that the peace movement was significantly influenced by the Soviets. But I thought the term “foul insinuation” was a bit histrionic, given that the Cold War ended a generation ago.

  30. Tim Macknay
    June 29th, 2016 at 19:34 | #30

    @Ivor
    Sorry. That should have been addressed to you.

  31. Ivor
    June 29th, 2016 at 20:25 | #31

    @Tim Macknay

    You are talking about something different.

    The claim was a specific slanderous proposition, that:

    the fact that the KGB gave similar peppercorn money to some members of the nuclear disarmament movement (which it did)

    This is, as you noted, Cold War crap, being deliberately resurrected, and like Islamophobia, homophobia and chauvinism needs to be called out for the rubbish that it is.

    Unless of course there is convincing evidence.

    So lets see the evidence or a complete retraction.

  32. J-D
    June 29th, 2016 at 20:47 | #32

    @James

    Thought police? That’s good for another laugh.

    Ah-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Hee-hee-hoo-hoo-hee-hee-hee! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-hee-hee-hee! Ha-ha-hee! Hee-hee-ha-ha-hee!

    I note that, contrary to your false claim, I have done exactly what you challenged me to do: you challenged me to search the Internet to prove you wrong. I searched the Internet, I found a description of your claim as deceptive, and you have simply ignored this.

    Now, I have a challenge for you:

    Find me (on the Internet or anywhere else) an example that meets all seven of these criteria:

    1) A steel frame building at least 40 stories high
    2) Which takes up a whole city block
    3) And is a “Tube in a tube” design
    4) Which came off its core columns at the bottom floors (Earthquake, fire, whatever – WTC 7)
    5) Which was struck by another building or airliner and had structural damage as a result.
    6) And weakened by fire for over 6 hours
    7) And had trusses that were bolted on with two 5/8″ bolts.

    And which, after all seven tests are met, the building does not fall down.

    You can’t, can you?

  33. June 29th, 2016 at 23:15 | #33

    I wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 14:29:

    J-D wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 11:45:

    Who told you that [Until 11 September 2001, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire], and why do you believe them? (my emphasis)

    It’s a fact. I’ve looked on the Internet. If you think I am wrong, then feel free to search the Internet to prove me wrong.

    On June 29th, 2016 at 20:47 and June 29th, 2016 at 14:29 you seemed to have had difficulty understanding plain English, J-D, or you were just pretending not to understand what I wrote.

    I asked for you to provide one example other than the three WTC buildings, which collapsed on 9 September 2001, of a high-rise building which collapsed as a result of fire. My search using the terms “High-rise building fire” (quotes omitted) revealed none.

    One page High-rise buildings (Sep 2013) of the United States’ National Fire Prevention Association, tells me:

    High-Rise Building Fires: In 2007-2011, an estimated 15,400 reported high-rise structure fires per year resulted in associated losses of 46 civilian deaths, 530 civilian injuries, and $219 million in direct property damage per year. An estimated 3% of all 2007-2011 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings.

    Not one of the estimated 61,600 fires[1] resulted in a complete structural collapse as far as I can see.

    Other high-rise infernos which have failed to cause building collapse include: The One Meridian Plaza Fire of 23 Feb 2016, the First Interstate Bank Fire of 4 May 1988, the 1 New York Plaza Fire of 5 Aug 1970, the Caracas Tower Fire of 17 Oct 2014 in Venezuela, the Windsor Building Fire of 12 Feb 2005 in Madrid, Spain, the Beijing Mandarin Oriental Hotel Fire of 9 Feb 2009 in China.

    Not one of these fires resulted in a building collapse.

    As I said before, the only time in history that I know of, where it is claimed that fire causes high rise buildings to collapse, occurred three times on the same day, on 11 September 2001.

    I am still waiting for you to prove me wrong, J-D.

    Footnote[s]

    [1] 15,400 fires per year over 4 years = 61,600 fires.

  34. Ikonoclast
    June 30th, 2016 at 06:36 | #34

    “On February 12, 2005, the 28 story Windsor Tower in Madrid, Spain suffered the collapse of the upper 11 floors of the building. The tower had a reinforced concrete inner-core surrounded by a traditional webbed steel-frame outer-perimeter. Between floors 16 and 17 was a 7-foot thick, reinforced concrete transfer floor, designed to act as a bulkhead and to support the steel framework of the upper 11 stories. An office fire began on the 21st floor and after 5 hours, the concrete inner-core could no longer support the buckling steel outer-framework. The upper 11 stories collapsed down to street level with remnants of the upper 3 floors collapsing down on to the transfer floor. No one was killed. The building was a composite steel-frame and steel-reinforced concrete design.” – Wikipedia.

    “Conspiracy Theorists bring up the fact that the towers were the first steel high rises to fall from fire in history. The fact is the towers had other firsts that day they never seem to include.

    There were a lot of firsts for the WTC. In all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been hit with a plane traveling 500 miles an hour and had its fire proofing removed from its trusses. In all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever had its steel columns which hold lateral load sheared off by a 767. In all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been a building which had its vertical load bearing columns in its core removed by an airliner. For Building 7, in all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been left for 6-7 hours with its bottom floors on fire with structural damage from another building collapse. Not the Madrid/Windsor tower did not have almost 40 stories of load on its supports after being hit by another building which left a 20 story gash. The Madrid tower lost portions of its steel frame from the fire. Windsor’s central core was steel reinforced concrete. In all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been without some fire fighters fighting the fires.

    I could go on with the “Firsts” but you get the drift. The statement that the WTC buildings were the first high-rise buildings to collapse from fire is deceptive because it purposely doesn’t take those factors into account.” – Debunking 9/11 Conspiracies web site.

    Note: Since the above cost me no effort, two mere copy-and-pastes, I consider I didn’t waste my time.

  35. Ikonoclast
    June 30th, 2016 at 06:52 | #35

    I am making here a comment of a more general nature for all readers of this thread. It seems when one disbelieves (indeed objectively disproves) a pet conspiracy theory of conspiracy theorists, that they immediately assume one’s position is that no conspiracies ever occur.

    Of course, this is not my position. Many conspiracies have occurred and been uncovered. Important ones that occur to me are the tobacco industry conspiracy to promote controversy over the dangers of smoking and the fossil fuel industry conspiracy (with others) to promote controversy over climate science. Many examples of cartel behaviour are conspiracies. There has been proof of cartel behaviour recently in the Australian supermarket sector to name one instance. Of course, governments and secret agencies hatch conspiracies too. One only has to look at all the CIA operations (the now uncovered ones) to overthrow governments and/or interfer in the internal affairs of other countries.

  36. J-D
    June 30th, 2016 at 07:40 | #36

    James :
    I wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 14:29:

    J-D wrote on June 29th, 2016 at 11:45:

    Who told you that [Until 11 September 2001, not one other high-rise building ever collapsed as a result of fire], and why do you believe them? (my emphasis)

    It’s a fact. I’ve looked on the Internet. If you think I am wrong, then feel free to search the Internet to prove me wrong.

    On June 29th, 2016 at 20:47 and June 29th, 2016 at 14:29 you seemed to have had difficulty understanding plain English, J-D, or you were just pretending not to understand what I wrote.
    I asked for you to provide one example other than the three WTC buildings, which collapsed on 9 September 2001, of a high-rise building which collapsed as a result of fire. My search using the terms “High-rise building fire” (quotes omitted) revealed none.
    One page High-rise buildings (Sep 2013) of the United States’ National Fire Prevention Association, tells me:

    High-Rise Building Fires: In 2007-2011, an estimated 15,400 reported high-rise structure fires per year resulted in associated losses of 46 civilian deaths, 530 civilian injuries, and $219 million in direct property damage per year. An estimated 3% of all 2007-2011 reported structure fires were in high-rise buildings.

    Not one of the estimated 61,600 fires[1] resulted in a complete structural collapse as far as I can see.
    Other high-rise infernos which have failed to cause building collapse include: The One Meridian Plaza Fire of 23 Feb 2016, the First Interstate Bank Fire of 4 May 1988, the 1 New York Plaza Fire of 5 Aug 1970, the Caracas Tower Fire of 17 Oct 2014 in Venezuela, the Windsor Building Fire of 12 Feb 2005 in Madrid, Spain, the Beijing Mandarin Oriental Hotel Fire of 9 Feb 2009 in China.
    Not one of these fires resulted in a building collapse.
    As I said before, the only time in history that I know of, where it is claimed that fire causes high rise buildings to collapse, occurred three times on the same day, on 11 September 2001.
    I am still waiting for you to prove me wrong, J-D.
    Footnote[s]
    [1] 15,400 fires per year over 4 years = 61,600 fires.

    I have already proved you wrong: it’s just that you don’t understand the proof.

  37. Nicholas
    June 30th, 2016 at 20:53 | #37

    A timely warning for people thinking about wasting their primary vote on the LNP or Labor:

    The Shadow Treasurer has been relentlessly claiming that Labor will see the “budget balance improving” as if running down a deficit is an improvement when there are more than 15 per cent of the labour force lying idle – either in unemployment or underemployment or hidden outside the official count (given the participation rate is still depressed).

    As a prediction, I don’t see them achieving these goals because in trying they will undermine the tax revenue growth that would be required to record fiscal surpluses.

    Their public statements presume that the fiscal balance is something they can control and is disconnected from the rest of the economy in some way – so that it can become a legitimate policy target.

    The fact is that the fiscal balance is not something the federal government can control – it can influence its outcome via its discretionary spending and taxation decisions but ultimately, the final outcome is the result of the non-government sector’s spending and saving decisions.

    The best way to reduce a fiscal deficit, if that should be a legitimate policy goal tied in with creating advances in well-being for all the population, is to engender growth in employment with wages growth.

    The policy strategy pursued by governments these days, in the main, are the opposite. They preach about how they are committed to ‘Jobs and Growth’ but oversee labour market developments which yield pathetic employment growth, increased casualisation and precarious work, and low wages growth (even real wage cuts).

    And then they wonder why the cyclical component of the fiscal balance goes against their goal of reducing the deficit.

    The election economic debate is so asinine in Australia that I barely follow it these days. The goings on in Britain and America are much more interesting.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=33911

  38. Ivor
    June 30th, 2016 at 21:46 | #38

    @Nicholas

    So presumably you think the prime minister is going to come from some third alternative.

    However if you think that it is likely that the PM will come from either Liberal or labor, then every primary vote and every preference is critical and not wasted.

  39. July 1st, 2016 at 00:31 | #39

    Those who built the World Trade Center know that fire could not have caused its collapse

    Ikonoclast on June 30th, 2016 at 06:36, as I have already said above, I did not seek this debate. This debate was started by you, when you labeled Paul Craig Roberts a “nutty, conspiracy theorist” for his views on 9/11 on June 27th, 2016 at 21:18 when I was attempting to put my nonorthodox views on the “Brexit” discussion.

    Real debate on the 9/11 collapses ended years ago. Those who argue that fire for the first time ever brought down three steel framed concrete buildings in the one day on 11 September 2001 and attempt to smear non-believers as “conspiracy theorists” are like those who tried and condemned Galileo Galelei for stating that the earth was not the centre of the universe in 1633.

    Ikonoclast pasted from debunking911 _dot_ com, thereby, supposedly, not ‘wasting’ any of his own time:

    … In all the history of high-rise fires, not one has ever been hit with a plane traveling 500 miles an hour …

    As shown in the video, embedded below, a large number of experts, including a number who helped build the World Trade Centre, disagree (my emphasis below):

    High-rise architect David Barnum, upon hearing that a plane had run into one of the twin towers, at the start of the video embedded below, “Well, that’s OK. It’s designed to withstand a 707“. Leslie Robertson, the WTC engineer had stated, “I designed it for a 707 to smash into it“.

    William Binner, a 25-year architect, who witnessed the impact said, “It did not seem possible that these towers, designed to withstand the impact of a 707 could possibly collapse in such a short order of time from the time that they were hit.”

    According to Daniel Szamboti, Mechanical Engineer, “These buildings are built to handle several times the load above them. The perimeter columns could handle 5 times the load above them and the core columns could handle 3 times the load above them.”

    John Skilling, the WTC Chief Engineer stated that the building would survive a jet fuel fire.”

    Others interviewed on this video include David Childs, the architect who designed the new Freedom Tower and WTC 7 on the site of the old World Trade Center, high-rise architect Leslie Young, fire safety expert Edward Munyak, physicist and engineer Robert Podolsky.

    (3:23 minute video embedded here)

    Could you tell us, Ikonoclast, upon whose expertise the claims made in the material you pasted above, are based? Can you name them as I have named only a few of those who agree with my views above?

  40. Ikonoclast
    July 1st, 2016 at 06:38 | #40

    @James

    Pray tell me, what exactly did occur on 9/11? I want you to tell me exactly what did happen. Exactly how were the buildings brought down? You obviously know exactly what happened so you can give me a blow by blow account of the conspiracy or false flag operation and of how technically, scientifically, empirically the buildings were brought down.

  41. J-D
    July 1st, 2016 at 10:00 | #41

    @James
    Three times you quote and emphasise statements by experts that the buildings were designed to withstand the impact of a 707.

    They weren’t hit by 707s. They were hit by 767s. A 767 is bigger than a 707. They weren’t designed to withstand the impact of a 767. You can find this information on the Internet.

  42. Ivor
    July 1st, 2016 at 10:38 | #42

    @James

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the WTC collapsed because of an impact of a 707.

    If a 707 with little fuel hit the WTC, most people understand that the building would have suffered partial damage.

    Comments about load handling need to be accompanied with temperature data because temperatures impact on load handling.

    Citing a few experts who say “the WTC could withstand a airline fuel fire” need to be compared with other experts who say “the WTC girders could not withstand a airline fuel fire”.

    Commonsense suggests that steel girders were affected by heat because this is quite common. It occurs along railway lines even at environmental temperatures and is a principle that is taught and demonstrated in high school physics classes.

    The claim in your video that a temperature of 750 F would not weaken steel did not cite evidence. I have seen BBQ plates slightly bowed simply by long use burning sticks. Another impact would have been thermal expansion of girders.

    Airline fuel does not disappear in an instant. This only applies to airline fuel vapour. If you have a cylinder of liquid airline fuel and ignite it at the top (at the right temperature) – it will burn steadily over an extended period in the nature of a candle. It will not burn at room temperature – you can use it to extinguish a lighted match.

    This is the basis of all refined hydro-carbon fuels – methylated spirits, kerosene, petrol. If you have used an old-fashioned kerosene lamp or stove you will have seen this principle in action. You have to heat the keroscene to start the burn.

    Most people do not understand fuels. Here is a simple explanation at normal temperatures

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nL10C7FSbE

    At higher temperatures the results would differ.

  43. Ivor
    July 1st, 2016 at 10:39 | #43

    @James

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the WTC collapsed because of an impact of a 707.

    If a 707 with little fuel hit the WTC, most people understand that the building would have suffered partial damage.

    Comments about load handling need to be accompanied with temperature data because temperatures impact on load handling.

    Citing a few experts who say “the WTC could withstand a airline fuel fire” need to be compared with other experts who say “the WTC girders could not withstand a airline fuel fire”.

    Commonsense suggests that steel girders were affected by heat because this is quite common. It occurs along railway lines even at environmental temperatures and is a principle that is taught and demonstrated in high school physics classes.

    The claim in your video that a temperature of 750 F would not weaken steel did not cite evidence. I have seen BBQ plates slightly bowed simply by long use burning sticks. Another impact would have been thermal expansion of girders.

    Airline fuel does not disappear in an instant. This only applies to airline fuel vapour. If you have a cylinder of liquid airline fuel and ignite it at the top (at the right temperature) – it will burn steadily over an extended period in the nature of a candle. It will not burn at room temperature – you can use it to extinguish a lighted match.

    This is the basis of all refined hydro-carbon fuels – methylated spirits, kerosene, petrol. If you have used an old-fashioned kerosene lamp or stove you will have seen this principle in action. You have to heat the keroscene to start the burn.

    Most people do not understand fuels. Here is a simple explanation at normal temperatures

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nL10C7FSbE

    At higher temperatures the results would differ.

  44. Troy Prideaux
    July 1st, 2016 at 11:01 | #44

    @Ivor
    Indeed. What’s more, the whole (obsolete) 707 impact design constraints were discussed at length *during the events* on MSM and hats off to the American MSM for digging all that out in real time.
    Yep, the warmer the iron gets, the weaker it gets. Get it warm enough and it liquifies and that’s how welding works. That iron structure was under immense compressive loading from what it was holding up and buckling is directly proportional to a material’s stiffness or its modulus of elasticity.

  45. Garry Shilson-Josling
    July 1st, 2016 at 15:30 | #45

    Has any one read this?

    The Aggregate Production Function and the Measurement of Technical Change: ‘Not Even Wrong’
    by Jesus Felipe and John S.L. McCombie?

    Kind of apposite, given that modelling of the company tax cut’s effect on wages (and therefore participation and, thanks to the market clearing assumption, employment) depends rather crucially on the neoclassical growth model being correct.

  46. Ernestine Gross
    July 1st, 2016 at 16:44 | #46

    To Ikonoclast re the relationship between wealth and income.

    I can’t assume you read every bit I ever wrote on this blog and I believe it is reasonable for me to clarify the relationship between wealth and income again

    Think of a sequence of dates in time, using any arbitrary time interval. Wealth of an individual is defined as the market value of everything he or she owns at a particular time, say time t. This includes physical assets, financial securities, and labour type skills. Income for period t to t+1 is the change in wealth from time t to time t+1. And so forth.

    The above is the definition of wealth in theoretical models (math econ) in the area of general equilibrium theory (not only) since Arrow-Debreu’s work in the 1950s (not exclusively). Thomas Piketty’s empirical analysis as published in Capital in the 21st century, applies this notion as much as data allows.

  47. Ikonoclast
    July 2nd, 2016 at 09:09 | #47

    @Ernestine Gross

    You also can’t assume I understand every bit you ever wrote on this blog. That is a dig at myself by the way, not at you.

    “Income for period t to t+1 is the change in wealth from time t to time t+1.”

    I believe that is exactly what I was saying income was. If I then caviled at a point you made based on that principle then I would say I misunderstood your point. I need to read people’s posts more carefully, especially yours and J.Q.’s.

  48. Ivor
    July 2nd, 2016 at 09:22 | #48

    @Ikonoclast

    This “t to t+1” is a capitalist fetish that leads to compounding instability.

    it is not necessary even under conditions of technical change.

    In a stable economy, if in one decade a valve radio costs $100, then there is no reason in the future the same $100 purchases a B&W TV, and later still when colour TV’s appear, their price is also $100, etc etc.

    The determinant is that at one time, the radio absorbed 1% of social production, later the early TV also took 1% of social production, and again with color TV’s – if they also just take 1% of social production – then they too should sell at $100.

    You can only vary price if the share of social production varies. Otherwise capitalists are accumulating money which they will then wreak havoc as Capital.

  49. Ikonoclast
    July 2nd, 2016 at 20:15 | #49

    @Ivor

    I don’t think “Income for period t to t+1 is the change in wealth from time t to time t+1” is a capitalist statement any more than is Kinetic Energy = 1/2 M times V squared. The former statement (Ernestine’s one) is essentially a physics statement for physical quantities and a maths statement for notional quantities.

    The formulation “Income for period t to t+1 is the change in wealth from time t to time t+1” is of the same form as an equation for a tank filling from an inflow pipe;

    “Inflow for period t to t+1 = the change in water volume from time t to time t+1.”

    Such basic quantitative statements are ideology neutral. They are about maths and physics. In a socialist system (of any broad type) certain capital items (capital equipment) will produce wealth (widgets with use value) just as they do under capitalism. The issue is about ownership of capital and “predistribution” (or Marxist “distribution”) decisions. Where a capitalist owns the plant he may take 50% of the gross sales revenue and distribute the other 50% as wages to say 5 workers. If the workers own the plant and productivity remains the same, 100% of the gross sales revenue can go to the workers. Of course there are other issues. I’ve ignored taxes, non-wage inputs and capital replacement / expansion.

    I am not sure how 1% of social production would be calculated in your example. Without markets it could be a centralised, command economy calculation which seems unlikely to be a good idea. You yourself have commented positively on the idea of market socialism. I think it is clear that socialism will still need markets just as it perforce must have capital in the form of plant (machinery) etc. The issue is to do with who owns the plant and what decisions (autocratic or democratic) they make about production, pre-distribution, dealing with negative externalities, considering broader social needs as a factor in production decisions and so on.

  50. Ivor
    July 2nd, 2016 at 23:16 | #50

    @Ikonoclast

    The tank analogy does not work. Value is based on your share of a pie NOT the size of the pie. The share due to each worker theoretically is a constant, no matter how many time periods go by and irrespective of what actual produced usevalues are produced.

    Similarly with Capital (if you want to use that term). For economic stability, the share of wealth going to “Capital” must either decline or remain constant. But it cannot decline to zero.

    If the share going to Capital increases – you end up with an economic catastrophe.

    There is no need to calculated 1%, because any figure will do. You do not have to calculate it, because the essense of the problem is ensuring stability in shares over time – if there is a million workers or 10 million the percentage must be different.

    This all emerges naturally provided workers receive fair wages and there is no helicopter money or bank paper money to throw the system into the hands of capitalists. It has nothing to do with a command economy, pre-distribution, non-wage inputs, negative externalities, taxes, or etc. In fact non-wage inputs – at equilibrium – are another capitalist fetish.

    “t to t+1” is a capitalist fetish within a capitalist society. It would be a fuedal fetish under a fuedal society. it is not possible to conceive of capitalism without it.

    Capitalists dream of maximising accumulation “t to t+1” even though this creates a great loss for the greatest number in relative terms.

    Economic stability requires that the wages share of all money stays constant over the long run (unless a new invention intrudes). Any other trend leads to catastrophe. It does not matter what the % actually is.

    Marx explained all this in volume 2 of Capital.

  51. Ikonoclast
    July 3rd, 2016 at 09:37 | #51

    @Ivor

    It would help if you could give references in DK Vol 2 to support your argument. It is a long time since I read Das Kapital and Grundrisse in detail. An impression I formed at that time and which remains strong to this day is that Marx’s works were an investigation in progress. The idea that he had reached a definitive result, an entire completed system, either philosophically or in terms of political economy, is not supported by his extant works. Engels attempted to organise and complete the project but significant contradictions and lacunae remain within it.

    In addition, knowledge, social progress and technology have all advanced since that day. It is not the case that we should take Marx’s words as the definitive final word on all these topics. Indeed some of his own works re-evolve his ideas and/or contradict each other. It IS the case that we should examine all his work critically, in the light of subsequent progress in philosophy and science, and make our own best determination of the logic and value of his ideas.

    One always has to be careful with terms. “Capital” can be a neutral term. One important form of capital is capital equipment. Capital equipment exists under socialism just as it does under capitalism. An ideal worker cooperative bakery has capital equipment. By an “ideal” worker cooperative bakery, I mean one is which all workers have equal ownership, perform equal work and have an equal say (full democracy) in all decisions of the cooperative.

    It is still the case that the cooperative could grow. More machinery could be added. More bakers or apprentices could be taken on and more bread could be baked. The capital “wealth” of the plant of the bakery could be crudely measured by a count of ovens. We can make crude counts of the wealth of the bakery without using money or capital calculations. At time “t” the bakery could have 5 ovens, 5 bakers and produce 5,000 loaves of bread a day. At time “t+1” where the time added is say one year, the bakery could have 6 ovens, 6 bakers and produce 6,000 loaves of bread a day. (I have no idea of the productivity of contemporary bakeries so these are simply arbitrary figures).

    From time “t” to “t+1”, the capital wealth of the bakery has increased by 1 oven or 20%. Whether these ovens are the possessions of worker cooperative bakers or of a single, non-working capitalist owner makes no difference to this equation. The equation remains valid. Of course, the circulation of capital (as money and fictitious capital), its behaviours and systemic results will be widely different under capitalism than under socialism of some form. That is another, huge subject.

    But stating that ““t to t+1” is a capitalist fetish within a capitalist society” does not hold. The validity of the “t to t+1” proposition (growth by a flow into a stock) is, in itself, a “truth” of physics and maths. It becomes a fetish when the capitalist mode of ownership and control is advanced as the only possible mode of ownership and control and is pursued to, well, the excess ends we see now in the extant, real world economy. It also becomes a fetish when growth becomes systemically mandated (as it does under capitalism) rather than a rational choice for growth or a steady state or some other state as required by environmental limits and reasonable human need factors.

    Footnote: In saying that something, say an equation validated by repeated experiment, is a “truth” (of physics or maths in this case) I am simply advancing the correspondence theory of truth. There are various opinions on this theory but I maintain that it is pragmatically sound.

  52. Ivor
    July 3rd, 2016 at 11:56 | #52

    @Ikonoclast

    It is in the chapter/section titled “Simple Reproduction”. The proportions are between workers who produce final consumption goods and those who produce intermediate goods. Marx tagged these as Departments II and I. Of course these proportions may or may not change over time BUT they do not necessarily change just because time has passed or a new product has hit the market.

    If the new product required the same distribution of labour – prices stay constant.

    If 80% of workers produce consumption goods, and 20% produce intermediate goods, then(once this is established) this determines prices irrespective of any changes in any basket of goods over time.

    The constancy is a feature of value – how much labour is distributed to produce a particular share of society’s production.

    As Marx said – the

    necessity of the distribution of social labour in specific proportions

    is “self evident”.

    He also noted that the amounts of products that are consumed reflect determined quantities of “society’s aggregate labour”.

    See: Marx 1868 Letter

    Obviously, the products can change over time – eg B&W TV (1960) to 3D plasma TV’s (2020), but IF the B&W TV used 1% of Marx’s “society’s aggregate labour” and 3D Plasma TV’s also take 1% of “society’s aggregate labour” THEN there is no change in value and both sell for the same price.

    There is one trap in all this – for Marx, money was itself real market value – gold, silver. When our bourgeois economists talk about money today they usually mean IOU’s. You can always increase IOU’s over time, but this just leads to catastrophe. Marx excluded credit from his analysis.

    Anyone wanting a simpler approach, just need to think what would happen if the wages share fell over time. Where would this end up?

    What would happen if the share going to capital fell over time.

    Or if either constantly increased. Where would this end up?

  53. Ivor
    July 3rd, 2016 at 12:11 | #53

    @Ikonoclast

    Just to be clearer…

    If 5 bakers use 5 ovens produce 5000 loaves and later, 6 bakers use 6 ovens to produce 6000 loaves…

    The price of a loaf does not change and the wealth per person does not change, wages do not change, the ratio of capital to labour does not change and one time is as good as the next.

    Those spending all their time building ovens get the same share of loaves as they did before and those actually making the loaves get to use the same quantity of ovens as before.

    If the bakery collective was to export their oven – they would get the same price for it in both time periods. Its exchange value will not have changed one iota.

  54. Ernestine Gross
    July 3rd, 2016 at 13:27 | #54

    Ivor, how do you answer the question: How old are you? And, have you always been that old?

    And, is your contribution to your workers’ collective unchanged since you joined it the first time? Was there a first time or are you an eternal god?

  55. Ernestine Gross
    July 3rd, 2016 at 13:30 | #55

    “Value is based on your share of a pie NOT the size of the pie.” [Ivor]

    This is an example of sloppy theorising on Ivor’s (or Marx’s part).

    What if ‘the pie’ is an empty set, or a long list of zeroes?

  56. Ivor
    July 3rd, 2016 at 13:54 | #56

    @Ernestine Gross

    Crazy, unrealistic and more than sloppy.

    If the pie is an empty set – there is no society.

    You have to put a bit more effort into your thinking.

    You have not even read Marx.

  57. Ernestine Gross
    July 3rd, 2016 at 14:03 | #57

    Ikonoclast, you made a slight change to my definition of wealth, such that the distinction between an individual and the aggregate is lost.

    In theoretical models of ‘competitive private ownership economies’ (eg the Arrow-Debreu model), it is the case that an individual’s wealth at a particular time can be described as a share of the total wealth of ‘the economy’. There are conditions on each element of ‘the economy’, which ensure that, in the logic of mathematics, ‘the pie’ (total wealth) is not an empty set and each individual’s wealth is ‘big enough’ (minimum wealth condition) such that each individual has ‘freedom of choice’ (without requiring an equal wealth distribution). It is possible to sensibly talk about a ‘wealth distribution’ across individuals in this model.

    In Radner’s sequence economy with commodity and financial markets, one can sensibly talk about ‘wealth distribution’ across individuals over time, and one can sensibly talk about changes in the wealth distribution of categories of individuals over time. (This is the theoretical model underlying Piketty’s work. Perhaps this is putting it too strongly because I don’t know what Piketty thought at the time. Perhaps I should say, when reading Piketty’s book, knowledge of Radner helped me not to get lost.)

  58. Ernestine Gross
    July 3rd, 2016 at 15:11 | #58

    @Ivor

    “If the pie is an empty set – there is no society”

    Not true. There are societies where nobody eats pies as we know them. Therefore, ‘the pie’, defined as the aggregate set of all pies, is empty. The list of pies produced and consumed in this society consists of a list of zeros.

  59. Ikonoclast
    July 3rd, 2016 at 15:21 | #59

    @Ivor

    I want to make a specific comment and then some general comments.

    “Value is based on your share of a pie NOT the size of the pie.” – Ivor.

    This cannot hold. If a pie of 4,000 calories is divided into 4 shares of 1/4 each then each share yields 1,000 calories. If a pie of 8,000 calories is divided into 4 shares of 1/4 each then each share yields 2,000 calories.

    C share = C total divided by total number of shares.

    The correct statement is that the relative value of your share is based on your share of a pie NOT the size of the pie. Both absolute numbers and ratios matter in certain contexts but the contexts have to be stated.

    Your statement “Value is based on your share of a pie NOT the size of the pie.” calls into question your definition of “value”. What do you mean by value? You cannot mean physical quantitative measures of value like calories. Therefore you must mean use value or exchange value, I guess. Use value varies according to the user. A skinny, hungry man will exchange more (if he has it) for a 1,000 calorie slice of a pie than a fat man sticking to a diet. Thus we get to exchange value. There are no absolutes about exchange values. Exchange values are relative and slide all over the place as it were. The only value I can think you refer to is that “I, as an average worker, did 1/11 millionth of the work in Australia last year so therefore I am entitled to 1/11 millionth of the country’s GDP.” This assertion is not one a Marxian would take anywhere. Not when we consider, “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need”. (Apologies for sexist formulation of that. English is awkward.)

    I don’t want to pick sides, in relation to yourself and E.G. when discussing these issues, because I suspect I differ from both of you on various points. However, I will say a couple of things. It is one thing to read Marx. It is another thing to read Marx critically.

    Now, I happen to hold the position that neither the labour theory of value (LTV) nor the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (TRPF) are absolute or universal truths in any sense, even within a capitalist system. I am not alone in this among modern Marxian thinkers.

    The LTV cannot be taken as an inviolable material axiom though it can form the basis of a moral philosophy about distribution of the surplus above the reproductive requirements of labour. Why do I say this? It is simply the case that other sources of value do exist, for example, nature itself. Value (use value) also comes from nature. Marx himself indicated as much. Value can also come from the machines themselves at the sophisticated end of the automation spectrum. This reading comes Marx’s “fragment on the machines” in Grundrisse. It is entirely Marxian, even Marxist, to realise dialectically (i.e. emergently) that high end automation becomes the antithesis of human labour and thus of the LTV. It negates the crude level of synthesis in early stage capitalism with a higher synthesis which can break or at least severely attenuate the connection between human labour and production. In industrial capitalism with crude machines and crude mechanically-automatic machines (crude by today’s standards) the LTV is a good approximation. It can cease to be a good approximation at higher levels of automation. This does not remove the moral force of the LTV. What comes from nature is free (until sustainable limits are exceeded) and what comes from human inventiveness, shared and socialised by time and custom, properly and morally belongs to all.

    TRPF also has to be understood in context. It is a real tendency in genuinely competitive capitalism but there are many counter-tendencies including the tendency to anti-competitive beahviour and to monopoly.

  60. Ivor
    July 3rd, 2016 at 15:47 | #60

    @Ernestine Gross

    If you were honest you would know that the issue is not restricted to pies.

    If you had a bit more education you would know that you could also use widgets or anything.

    Your compentancy is awesome.

  61. Ivor
    July 3rd, 2016 at 16:43 | #61

    @Ikonoclast

    If you base yourself on the labour theory of value – it all falls out easily.

    For example:

    If a pie of 4,000 calories is divided into 4 shares of 1/4 each then each share yields 1,000 calories. If a pie of 8,000 calories is divided into 4 shares of 1/4 each then each share yields 2,000 calories.

    If in one day you produce 4,000 calories then 1/4 is exchangeable for 1/4 of someone elses production – say 1 unit of gold.

    If in one day you produce 8,000 calories then 1/4 is exchangeable for someone elses production – 1 unit of gold.

    In both cases the production of 1/4 day exchanges for 1/4 of a day. It does not matter if this is 1,000 calories or 2,000 calories or a B&W TV or a plasma TV.

    Note: production of 8,000 calories cannot coexist with production of 4,000 because the more productive will outcompete the less productive.

    If the average worker did 1/11 th million of work then they would, absolutely, be entitled to 1/11th million of national production. But this would not be undiminished proceeds – as Marx explained in his Critique of the Gotha Program.

    Value cannot come from machines but diving into this is diversionary.

  62. Ernestine Gross
    July 3rd, 2016 at 16:43 | #62

    “Your compentancy is awesome” [Ivor]

    You said it.

  63. Ikonoclast
    July 3rd, 2016 at 17:37 | #63

    @Ivor

    The specification that 1/4 day of labour of type A on machine type X equally exchanges for 1/4 day of labour of type B on machine type Y, is a normative formulation not a descriptive formulation. It is an (ill-advised) attempt to set a moral and economic norm rather than an attempt to describe real-world behavior and the real-world setting of values (use and exchange) in society.

    I could decide that I am “The People’s Poet” like the anarchist Rick in the Young Ones. I could decide my labour consists of 1 sonnet per working day or 3.5 lines of verse in 1/4 of a working day. In my mind, these sonnets would be works of genius deserving adulation… and pay. In the minds of others they would be fustian doggerel worth nothing. Already, we see that 1/4 day of labour of type A (versification) on machine type X (typewriter) does not necessarily equally exchange for 1/4 day of labour of type B on machine type Y. My attempt to normatively define the value of my work fails in this case. The value is socially decided in some manner: anywhere from a command decision, not mine unless I am the dictator, to a market determination.

    Thus there can be no valid, a priori normative determination that 1/4 day of labour of type A on machine type X must equally exchange for 1/4 day of labour of type B on machine type Y and so on as we iterate this formualtion.

    The labour theory of value, as an incomplete exposition of the origin of value, cannot aid us in setting 1/4 day of labour as equal to any other 1/4 day of labour. The origin of value (use or exchange) is complex and manifold: it originates in the human/social interaction with natural resources and with each others’ forces of human production (labour) and with technology and with human needs and desires. The whole is an interacting complex. The interacting complex generates values and assessment of values.

    Note: In the above, I have given an example of “labour without value”.

    See: DID MARX HOLD A LABOR THEORY OF VALUE? – 1987 Peter King and Arthur Ripstein.

    http://individual.utoronto.ca/pking/unpublished/LTV.pdf

    The conclusion of this article is complex and it leads to further complexities. The LTV is a useful way of looking at things, especially in certain historical phases. It does aid us to see exploitation and appropriate of surplus value which could otherwise go to workers (or widows for that matter). The LTV is not any kind of absolute or complete truth about all sources and all generation of value.

  64. Ikonoclast
    July 4th, 2016 at 10:40 | #64

    This is a reply to Ivor, taking our “cause” discussion away from Monday message and placing it here.

    The word “reason” is unfortunately an ambiguous term. “Reason” can mean “cause” or something approximating it. “Reason” can also mean the processes of reasoning. “Reasons” can even mean explanations or even mere rationalisations. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy seems to use “reason” as at least an approximate synonym for “cause” in this definition.

    “The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason or cause.”

    It continues a little later to say:

    “If you accept the Principle of Sufficient Reason (= PSR), you will require an explanation for any fact, or in other words, you will reject the possibility of brute, or unexplainable, facts.”

    Your overall point of view places you in the philosophical camp which accepts the Principle of Sufficient Reason at least for physical objects or processes. “There is no physical object or process that does not have a physical cause…” You also state “Universes can exist without “reason” but not without a physical cause.” But what is the physical cause of the Universe? Is it the physical cause of itself? This is a circular logic fallacy or problem. Is another Universe or another Universe-causing cause (in both cases physical) the cause of this physical Universe? What causes the other Universe or what causes the Universe-causing cause? This is an infinite regress fallacy or problem.

    When you state “There is no physical object or process that does not have a physical cause…” you leave open the question of whether you are a kind of dualist (there is physical and non-physical “substance”) or whether you are a monist physicalist (there is only physical substance). Therefore you have left open (so far in this discussion) the issue of whether uncaused causes might exist outside the physical, material or corporeal (Descartes’s Res Extensa). Descartes postulated two other substances namely Res Cogitans (Mind) and God.

    I don’t agree with Descartes. I postulate (in this Universe which is as far as we can perceive or detect with instruments) that there is only one overall “substance”. It is “matter” or “stuff” or “substance” for want a better word but it actually comprises both processes and the field of action for the processes (the space-time manifold). These exist together and in relation to each other and only exist in that fashion. What they are “in themselves” is not examinable. It may even be that “existence in itself” of components of the Universe is nonsensical. Only the composite exists. So I am “physical monist”. But at this level the word “physical” loses meaning if there is nothing non-physical to contrast it to. So strictly I am not a “physical monist” but simply an “existence monist”. The Universe to me is one all-connected existent. Everything is connected and related. Things or processes or phenomena may be either of distantly connected and related or closely connected and related or anything in between. To state that something is “all-connected” is not to state or imply that it is undifferentiated. Indeed connection implies differentiation. In addition the basic “things” or “processes” simply do not and can not exist without each other. At least I contend this. The space-time manifold cannot exist without what we call matter and matter cannot exist except as a thing or rather a process in space-time.

    I do hold there is no explanation for this state of affairs or no cause if we will. It simply is. It simply exists. Existence (in total as all existence) is a brute fact. All we can do is discern connections or correlations within existence and pragmatically manipulate some processes to continue our existence. Notions of simplistic causation, rather than complex interconnection and interaction, assist us in physics and pragmatics to some extent. Notions of simplistic causation, rather than complex interconnection and interaction, do not assist us in political economy. Simple classical materialism (like classical physics) is not going to assist us to determine “the laws of motion” of political economy. Complex systems theory is more promising in this regard. The “laws of motion” will be found to include (I assert) issues of indeterminism, chaos and complex systems interaction involving equilibria and disequilibria. That’s a short screed on it.

  65. Ivor
    July 4th, 2016 at 14:45 | #65

    @Ikonoclast

    Anything that is caused has a “sufficient reason”, but not a metaphysical “sufficient reason”.

  66. Ikonoclast
    July 4th, 2016 at 20:03 | #66

    @Ivor

    You seem to think you don’t have a metaphysical position (in the philosophical sense). A metaphysical position is not necessarily that there is a God or gods or immaterial spirits or immaterial substances. It could also be, for example, that there is consciousness and matter of different subtstances or that there is only matter or more precisely only a physical Universe and that consciousness supervenes on the physical or is emergent. These are all metaphysical positions. These function, in each case, as an priori justification for a subsequent thought-system. The a priori justification can never be proved. It can be supported well or badly, it can be demonstrated to be plausible or implausible, it can be demonstrated to lead to consistent or inconsistent results. But it cannot be proven. Technically it probably can’t even be refuted but it may be possible to get very close to a refutation of a very poor a priori justification.

    Then what use is even a good metaphysical a priori justification and its ensuing philosophical system? The bottom line for modern scientific pragmatists is that it could lead to a string of testable hypotheses and better enable us to link empirical phenomena.

  67. Ivor
    July 4th, 2016 at 21:49 | #67

    @Ikonoclast

    Those are not metaphysical. They certainly lead to thoughts and they can be tested.

    Any such thoughts can be corrected or falsified by tests and science.

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