27 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. JQ explicitly invites rants here, so I’m going to indulge in one.

    First, a note as to method. I trained (mostly) in history, so my approach to understanding a social institution is not to look at a comparison with some ideal type but at how it is instantiated and how it evolved. This is not to fall for the “genetic fallacy” but to observe that institutions, like species, bear the imprints of their origins, and that these offer important clues as to how they operate.

    This rant is about money, and was sparked by a debate between Brad deLong. Nick Rowe and Daniel Kuehn on general gluts and money, which rapidly became an argument about the relationship between the “goods market” and the “money market” and the “price of money” (the rate of interest), illustrated with equations. Now these are all intelligent, thoughtful people, and I have learned a lot from Brad in particular, but I realised, after looking at cited examples of what counts as money, that it was an argument about the nature of the good, the true and the beautiful, not about actual money and actual markets. This is an interesting form of argument (and I would be the last to disparage it) but how helpful is it as guide to the world we live in? That economists are still arguing about these matters after more than two centuries suggests, prima facie, not very.

    We are lucky to have a detailed record of the evolution of money in the ancient Near East. It is closely tied to the evolution of writing. Both started as tally-sticks (more accurately, tally-clay-pegs) recording debts owed and payments made. There was a symbol for a good (barley, sheep, onions..) and a record of the amount. Over time, the symbols went on to become writing. The written records of debts became first transferable and then denominated in a standard unit. The debt could be against the state, a bank or a private person. After two thousand years or so, coins were added as an afterthought, primarily to facilitate payments to people outside the credit system (initially, mercenary soldiers). If you look around all the different forms, from debts denominated in specific goods through personal IOUs to state-issued debts, are still in operation.

    Now look at the current list of what counts as money. The narrowest definition (M1) includes notes and coins, debit cards, cheque accounts and travellers cheques. What are these? Debit cards and cheques are just modern forms of a record of transferable debt. A note or coin is a credit drawn on the community recognising that currency (if you doubt this, consider what happens when that community ceases to exist, or to recognise that currency: you have a wad of South Vietnamese piastres or Confederate State of Georgia bills or 500 rupee notes). As the definition of money widens, additional classes of debt are included: treasury bills, corporate paper, bonds, bankers acceptances and so on. So there is no fixed amount of money – there is as much money, of varying degrees, as debts people are prepared to acknowledge. It may be the case, as Paul Krugman remarked, that for every debt there is an asset but mostly the asset is another debt.

    The point of this is that if you see money as debt, you ask different questions. “Liquidity” becomes “how quickly can I convert this debt into another, better form of debt?” perhaps from a claim on a bank to a claim on the state. “Hard money” becomes “debts more widely recognised, against people with lots of assets”. “I am wealthy” becomes “I am owed by a lot of people”. And these lead to other questions: “Will they pay?”; “Can I make them pay?”, “If they cannot pay, who bears the loss?”. These are all political questions, questions about power relationships. There is no “money market”. There are people trading debts, hoping to trade up, betting that they can collect, guessing that, somewhere back along the chain, there is real production to back the debt.

    I’ll end the rant here. Let’s not talk about “money” as an abstract idea. Let’s talk about who owes what, to whom.

  2. Peter Thomson,

    You are putting forward a “money as (human political) power” thesis. I agree.

    A number of thinkers from Marx-Engels and Veblen and on to those involved today in the “Capital as Power” project, have seen or do see money, financial systems and the institutions which support them, essentially as (human political) power systems. Their analyses have proceeded in rather different fashions in each case and I won’t overview them here.

    Successful capitalists, investors and entrepreneurs also see money and finance as (human political) power. They are quite realistic about this and they employ economists, the media, advertising and political donations to engage in gaming, manipulation, propaganda, obfuscation and mystification of the system; a multi-pronged strategy of opportunism and ideological justification. Conventional economics for the most part plays a useful role, from the point of view of capitalists, as a legitimizing PRESCRIPTIVE discipline and as the provider of multiple designs for bag-man services (called financial innovations) for collecting and delivering the rents and monies.

    Conventional economics essentially is not a DESCRIPTIVE discipline although there are some sub-disciplines which could qualify as descriptive and analytical. The root problems of conventional economics begin in the field of ontology. What really exists and how do these objects, systems or processes interact to generate emergent economic phenomena? Conventional economics posits, in ontological terms, a completely untenable set of economic “objects” as existents and then proceeds with its analysis on that basis. Its foundations are philosophically and scientifically fallacious, thus all that follows is fallacious.

    Conventional economics fails to grapple with the fundamental ontological issues involved in considering the interactions of real systems and formal systems (eg. real ecology with real economy with formal money-financial-legal systems, that is to say institutional systems). The formal systems of capitalism are not reality congruent. Its axiomatic accounting equations demand indefinite ongoing processes which are not real-system sustainable. This is bound up with conventional economics remaining essentially a mathematico-deductivist discipline rooted in assumptions built around classical physics, reductionist science and Cartesian dualism. These assumptions are all now proven entirely untenable in the light of modern science; especially in the light of ecology, biosphere and atmospheric sciences, evolutionary theory, complex systems science, emergence, relativity and nondeterminism. When examined rigorously in philosophical and scientific terms, conventional economic analysis is clearly at least 150 years out of date. This accounts for its egregious outcomes from climate change and imminent ecological collapse to the GFC and ever-rising inequality.

    To reiterate, Capitalism, in its theoretical justificatory and explanatory literature, as classical or neoclassical economics, has no firm ontological basis in scientific or philosophical (ontological) terms. However, as a persuasive ideological system of thought, as a prescriptive (not descriptive) formal system and as an organising system of concepts, and applied managerial, accounting and social control techniques, it is clearly very real and successful (for now) as a system; backed by custom, common law, statute law, the State and the State’s monopoly on violence. It also backed by human propensities like selfishness and greed which it intensifies by political and advertising propaganda. At the same time, it devalues the idea and reality of other human propensities like cooperation and fellow-feeling. It is a system which, like religion, remakes reality from the top down. It creates itself as a formal system seemingly outside and above the constraints of material reality. It then remakes our material reality according to its systematic dictates. Of course, as Marx would have reminded us, a material surplus is needed at each stage to enable the creation of ever more elaborated formal control systems which in themselves cost (and continue to cost) vast material and energetic inputs in development and maintenance.

    The formally elaborated part of the socio-economic system, the Capitalist superstructure as formal system in this case, including all of its managerial, social, accounting and ideological aspects then functions as a hybrid “system-hypothesis”. By this I mean it is a system which incorporates its own teleological hypothesis. “Keep applying this system to get more of this system including more of everything it produces. Continue this process indefinitely, very much in the manner of an ever-expanding, perpetual motion machine. This system has no limits.” This is the message of the system-hypothesis or the system-telos of Capitalism. Just as classical economics commences by ignoring ontology as a philosophical and scientific issue it culminates in contemporary neoclassical economics by ignoring the most universal Laws of the Cosmos, so far discovered by science, namely the Laws of Thermodynamics. Endless growth is not possible in a finite system (the biosphere) with finite material and energy stores and inputs.

  3. Peter Thomson,
    “Let’s not talk about “money” as an abstract idea. Let’s talk about who owes what, to whom.”

    This goes a long way, IMO. However, it does not work well when the rate of reproduction of physical (natural environment) resources is less than the rate of consumption or destruction of such resources, which is the case for quite some time now.

  4. The Greens appear intent on demonstrating that they are politically correct loons, with NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong calling on colleague Jeremy Buckingham to resign or be kicked out of the party based on alleged sexual misconduct from 2011. The police never laid charges and an independent investigation ordered by the Greens could not substantiate any wrongdoing.

    Jenny Leong and Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who supported her, should be kicked out of the Greens. 90% of the time I vote ALP but on some occasions I’ve voted Greens in the Senate. I won’t be doing that again while the party promotes misandry and the #believewomen lie.

  5. Ernestine Gross,

    I think your insight there is 100% valid.

    This then begs the question. How do we order, reorder or replace money and capital such that money and capital, or some new creations, take full cognizance (so to speak) of the facts of the “rate of reproduction of physical (natural environment) resources”?

    I don’t pretend to know the answer to that question. At this stage, I keep posing myself broader questions related to the interaction of our formal systems with real systems. The biosphere is a real system. The real economy is a real system. The money / finance / legal / institutional system is a (compound) formal system.

    In a real system, like a biosphere system or the real economy system, we can measure real, physical quantities. In a formal system we measure notional quantities (like money). Of course, it takes real physical resources (like the materials and energy to make and run computers) to manipulate accounts of notional quantities.

    What is the point of the notional quantities we calculate (like money, shares, bonds etc.)? One point is to assign ownership. Full ownership is essentially the exclusive right to use for oneself (including to receive income), to exclude others or to charge others for use. This is merely a description. It is not to endorse or dis-endorse this current reality of ownership.

    However, the above does not exhaust the raison d’être for the money and finance system. It also exists to allocate scarce resources efficiently. This is the “official” position of conventional economics and it has some claim to validity, in theory if not in practice. One might ask, how is it long-term efficient to destroy the biosphere and the holocene climate (which we are biologically and civilizationally adapted to)?

    To allocate scarce resources efficiently (and fully efficiently with a regard to all concerns including environmental sustainability), our formal, notional system ought to model all significant costs reasonably accurately, though monetising both human values and real costs will always be a fraught process. The essential problem might seem to be in the issue of the relative accuracy or inaccuracy of our modelling of all ethical value costs and all real costs.

    At a deeper level, it seems to me, the central problem with the current system inheres in the contradiction between the money-finance-legal system’s twin functions of the instantiation of exclusive ownership and the efficient allocation of scarce resources. The standard justificatory thesis of “capitalism” or “market fundamentalism” is that the instantiation of self-interested and short-sighted ownership (for that is what it is – a judgement based on empirical outcomes to date with respect to environmental destruction and damaging climate change) leads to the efficient allocation of scarce resources. This latter claim is patently fallacious. For example, an automobile-roadways system is clearly a less efficient allocation of scarce resources than a mass transit system.

    Perhaps even more to the point, a rules-based formal system, if followed to the letter or to the equation as it were, can lead to outcomes (as Piketty detected) that are real system unsustainable in the long term. If the return on capital is greater than the economic growth rate, then inequality increases. In the real system (the real economy populated with real people), there are real limits to this process. The real limits are that people will die of starvation, poor conditions, lack of medicine and other factors OR they will revolt.

    So, the key point is that the rules-based formal system must accurately enough model the real system(s) or it will lead to discontinuities (collapses or revolts) of one form or another. Of course, the great difficulty is how do we reform or replace money, capital and ownership (the formal rules system of our current economies) in a way that makes the formal system more real-system-congruent?

  6. In his evidence today James Shipton has demonstrated a pattern of reluctance to address the very problems in the Banking Industry that Asic was supposed to deal with. He blames lack of staff however was it more that he in terror of upsetting his political masters? The ABC dilemma repeated?

  7. Ikonoclast

    I’m not interested in attacking conventional economics. Just in putting a view that helps us to understand why, eg, monetarism has, at best, a patchy record, working no better than hit or miss, and why the credit of the state and the banks are so critical (they set the benchmarks for the value of all other debt).

    Ernestine, I also think this perspective gets us further when there is a gross mismatch between real productive opportunities and debt. The issue is not “money” or “prices” but whose debt gets written off/discounted/retained.

  8. “I’m not interested in attacking conventional economics.” – Peter Thomson,

    Oh well, that’s where we part company, at the first fork in the road. Conventional economics IS the problem. It’s completely misconceived on both ontological and moral philosophical grounds.

  9. In the Brexit discussion, I floated the idea of Hard Brexit + UFT (Unilateral Free Trade) + JG (Job Guarantee) + a SW (Social Wage). Is this a “dog’s breakfast” or a balanced meal?

    I think this would be an interesting discussion. Any takers?

  10. @Ikonoclast

    I’m not particularly against Hard Brexit but if you need to rely on JG + UBI to reap the benefit of UFT then you might as well forget about it. With Britain’s conservative mindset and culture (monarchy, knights and lords etc.), I don’t think these policies would get majority population support let alone getting them through parliament.

    For Hard Brexit to work, I think UK have to negotiate trade deals on the imports that it need and quickly establish the required processes, if the EU is to stop trading with UK. Then run fiscal stimulus to counter the economic recession and build the required infrastructure and systems for UK to be able to survive as an independent country, just like every other country not in the EU does. While there will be pain for the UK, I’m not sure if it will be any worse than staying. When I look at Peripheral EU countries like Greece or Italy where 10 years on and they are still in slumps with no end in sight, I’m not sure whether if the pain would be shorter if they would have left or stayed. Note that EU still wants to fine Italy for wanting to run fiscal stimulus even after the fiscal hawks like the IMF recognised its failures years ago.


    The EU might have started as a peace project, but it has long been captured by neoliberals now with the aim to create an EU army and increase defense spending. For those who are keen to reform it from the inside, instead of disband the current EU and start over, I’m not seeing good progress or indeed any progress at all. Yet the ultra Rightwing parties are gaining support election after election across the EU.

  11. But hang on, the great majority of Brits are not monarchy, knights or lords. All they have to do is vote for their own majority self-interest… and then strike en mass if the party elected to implement the peolple’s majority will still refuses to do so. In theory, it’s easy. In practice it seems very hard. There is great inbuilt systemic bias against reform towards the left end of the spectrum.

    There is also some kind of distorting “power field” about the current system which can confuse anybody’s political and moral compass. I wonder myself if proposing UFT from a left perspective makes any sense. But in the UK’s predicament, it might be an expedient measure in conjunction with a Hard Brexit. But of course social welfare protections would be necessary. Confiscating the entire wealth of the Monarchy and Aristocracy would pay for it easily I think. It seems unimaginable currently but such things have been done before.

  12. One of the vile accusations made against those who happen to be white but oppose high immigration is that they must be racist. This argument is infantile because one can support a low migrant intake that is blind to race just as easily as one can support a high migrant intake that is sensitive to race.

    Such an argument also ignores the fact that many immigrants themselves want a lower intake. Here is an article from The Conversation about a study that found half of all UK immigrants oppose further immigration. ****theconversation.com/what-immigrants-in-britain-think-of-immigration-75877

    Lived experience would appear to be the major driver of attitudes re immigration:

    However, being affected by economic shocks seems to be important for determining attitudes towards further immigration. We found both native-born people and immigrants who had reported suffering economic worries in the past, such as job losses, drops in income, or who had been forced to cut back on luxuries or necessities, were more likely to be opposed to further immigration. This was even the case if we took their current income levels into account, meaning economic perceptions seemed to matter more than current economic circumstances when it came to feelings about future immigration.

  13. One of the vile accusations made against those who happen to be white but oppose high immigration is that they must be racist.

    An accusation made against many people, including many people who want to restrict immigration, is not that they ‘must be’ racist, but rather that they are in fact racist: and there’s nothing vile about the accusation if it’s true, which it often is. Lots of people are racist, so why not say so?

  14. I had an argument on twitter recently with a person who blamed (quite specifically) South Sudanese immigrants for Australia’s increasing emissions rate, on the grounds that they have large families. It’s hard to see that argument as anything other than using environmental concerns as a cloak for racism.

    I can see why, at first glance, people might not accept this. If you take Australia’s very high per capita rate of emissions as some kind of given that we who already live here are somehow entitled to, then any immigrants, particularly immigrants who have large families, can be ‘blamed’ for increasing it. But what is the justification for that entitlement? Why should high income, predominantly white, populations be entitled to a high rate of emissions? Why should ‘immigrants’ be blamed?

    Racism these days is rarely overt. So you get a lot of vague rhetoric about ‘Muslims’ on one hand, and ‘immigrants’ on the other, and rarely (except in Trump’s America) do you get the specific ‘we do not want people of colour from low income, non-Christian countries immigrating to our country’. So people like my interlocutor will find all sorts of reasons to justify what are essentially racist attitudes.

  15. It’s not the racism slur which bothers me. It’s often enough true. Even those who are not overt racists and do not approve of institutionalized racism can be unconscious racists and must continually fight against it. Almost any white Australian born before 1960 will certainly face this fight internally (and many born after as well). But it’s probably best to reserve the racism epithet for calling blatant cases or it causes a counter-productive backlash.

    What bothers me is what I see as the “nativism” slur. We are all nativists to some degree. A degree of nativism is reasonable in a way that racism is not. After all, indigenous black rights in Australia are a form of nativism. “This was our place first, well before you came and stole it.” These are justifiable words from aboriginal people. Aboriginal people might also wonder at white people who first steal their land and then unilaterally assume the right to continually bring in more people.

    We are all justifiable exclusionists to some degree. We reserve certain rights to exclude (most) others from our body, then from our personal space, then from our “safe spaces”, then from our living spaces and so so. Eventually this comes to “from our ecologically sustainable environmental spaces”. To demand anything else lacks the dimensions of material and biological realism, in my view. Natural rights shade in native rights. The point is to neither over-assert nor under-assert native rights.

  16. Yes but nativism or nationalism can be a cloak for other forms of entitlement, as well as racism. People may have some ‘right’ to territory, or country, but we don’t have a right to high emission levels just because we are Australians. So before trying to say to others ‘this is our country and we’re full’, we should get our emissions levels and ecological footprint down (preferably a long way down but at least to global average levels).

    Also Ikon can I recommend that you think in terms of community rather than (or at least as well as) individuals. This focus on the self contained individual is a left over from the patriarchal discourse of adult, independent men as normative citizens, or ‘heads of households’. If you include everyone in your thinking it is apparent that we are interconnected and interdependent. One thing I have found very interesting from an ecological perspective is the way that the ecological farming movement talks of ‘communities’ rather than individual plants or individual species. I think we need to think of ourselves the same way – simultaneously individuals and part of a ‘socioecological’ community.

  17. Val, I agree, albeit with caveats.

    I think we, all of us, use arguments from time to time which come from self-interest (including self-entitlement) and which we cloak from others and sometimes from ourselves by dressing them up as other ethical claims. Enlightened self-interest is the realistic standard by which we should judge ourselves and others, along with rejecting direct and obvious cruelty, exploitation and oppression.

    I hold that individual humans exist and that communities and societies exist and that in general evolutionary and emergent phenomena exist or come into existence. My ontology is that of complex relational systems. The first movement in understanding is a formal reductionism practiced pragmatically. Look for the smallest, seemingly independent existents (at the posited “basic” level of analysis) and try to find the fundamental properties of these existents. Then, using a relational system model, make operative in analysis the observed realtiy that these seemingly fundamental properties of basic existents are actually cross-generated by the interrelations of existents.

    So, the starting point of one part of my (quite amateur) socioeconomic analysis (looking at human individuals) is only methodological (not ontological). It’s a first step of formal reductionism. I don’t stop the formal reductionism there. I look at humans as (complex system) bundles of phenomena as well. We are not simplistic, unitary actors but have a complex physical nature plus what we might call imperatives, drives and motives. We are often conflicted, contradictory and illogical.

    You might have heard the old joke about the theory that four turtles hold up the world in empty space. When a proponent of this theory was asked “What holds up the turtles?”, she replied “It’s turtles all the way down.” It’s a good answer in a way.

    Reality is best understood as systems all the way down (and all the way up). Any “part” or discrete existent which we identify as discrete for some pragmatic purpose is really a sub-system of a larger system. The only way to make this ontology consistent is to posit the Cosmos as a single relational complex system (with only one substance domain which is conventionally called physical or material). So it’s a form of priority monism.

    I’ll cut myself short here, except to say two things. One, the only ontology (and thus metaphysics) consistent with modern science is complex system priority monism. Two, if people don’t examine their basic ontological assumptions (especially the founding a priori justification for their ontology) they are bound to make all sorts of inconsistent inductions and deductions from that point on. Into that latter category of extensive inconsistency, I place all systems of thought which rely on metaphysical dualism, trialism etc.

  18. We can put up the “no vacancies” sign *and* make a greater effort a greater effort to reduce carbon emissions. at the same time.

  19. By the way, the so called ecological farming methods are for the most part arrant nonsense. If you want to feed people on a grand scale with minimal labour and at an affordable price you deploy capital intensive broadacre farming with state of the art agrichemical inputs and you take advice from your local ag scientists. If you want to kil millions of people then you listen to frauds like Vandana Shiva.

  20. Ikon I don’t see that you can really use reductionism and complex systems theory at the same time. Thinking in terms of communities and how individuals are part of communities is systems theory. If you try to reduce it to individual behaviour you’re not using complex systems theory, as far as I can see.

    Janette – sweeping claims drawing on emotion without providing evidence don’t convince me of anything – rather the reverse.

  21. Val,

    Sorry, but I don’t think you read carefully enough what I wrote. Either that, or I did not express my thoughts well enough.

    The first reductionist steps are methodological not ontological. It’s a pragmatic way of beginning to look at existence (a method) but not in any way an ontological claim that this alone will ever lead us to an accurate complex model of all interrelated existence. This means it is a method of finding “the smallest, seemingly independent existents at the posited basic level of analysis”. Note the terms “seemingly independent” and “posited basic level”. These are a priori assumptions made for pragmatic investigative reasons not because because our metaphysics is ontologically reductionist.

    Then, as I wrote: “Then, using a relational system model, make operative in analysis the observed reality that the seemingly fundamental properties of basic existents are actually cross-generated by the interrelations of existents.”

    I noted that parts or elements of large complex systems themselves will be found to be systems (and thus sub-systems of larger systems) in their own right.

    I hold that methodological reductionism followed by reconstructive modelling of the relational complex systems of the parts (sub-systems) is exactly what complex systems science (and philosophy) are and ought to be.

    We can see that science, especially historically, operated in this manner. It began with reductionism and probably with a metaphysics which suggested that at the material level all the answers would be found in reductionism. Eventually, it was found that one “explanatory vector” (reductionism) was inadequate. The metaphysics of dualism was found to be inadequate because it suggested material reality could be explained in a wholly reductionist manner. This assumption collapsed philosophically after Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel and Marx (who all looked at these matters in different ways and arrived at partial answers at best, being variously right and wrong about various matters).

    It took the scientific advances of the theories of evolution, general relativity and quantum field theory to clarify metaphysics further than these earlier thinkers could. Another explanatory vector in the direction of systems, complexity, emergence and evolution was required.

    Essentially, the only metaphysical position consistent with modern science is (complex system) priority monism. The cosmos is a single, relational system. Dualism is philosophically untenable (without a dogmatic a priori for “God” ) although a lot of modern Western dualists simply haven’t realized this yet. Eastern philosophy has long been monist, and non-dogmatic, in its mainstream. The Western prejudice for dualism (or trialism) was and is an out-growth and Middle-Eastern and Western monotheistic dogmatism.

    “Neither existence monism nor priority monism is accorded much respect in contemporary metaphysics, nor are they always properly distinguished. Indeed, the tradition associated with these doctrines has long been dismissed as being somewhere between obscure and ridiculous. But there are serious arguments for monism. Priority monism may especially deserve serious reconsideration, of a kind that it is only now beginning to receive.” – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Revised 2014.)

    There are indeed serious arguments (and better) arguments for priority monism. The main one is that priority monism (of the complex relational system variant) is consistent with modern scientific discoveries whereas dualism is inconsistent. This is still not absolute proof of course (which is always impossible in both philosophy and science). But it indicates a high probability that priority monism – complex rational system metaphysics better describe reality than rival metaphysics systems.

  22. Val, when Indian farmers were (finally and belatedly) given a choice, something like 95% of cotton farmers adopted gm cotton while much of the remainder adopted counterfeit seeds.

    In spite of monstrous propaganda and the support she has in the West, Shiva and others like her are ignored by the vast majority of Indian farmers.

    Australia’s home grown ecological farming movement, permaculture, is mere trivia some 40 years after I bought Mollison and Holmgren’s Perm 1 and 2 books.

    When farmers are given a choice, they nearly always adopt the production method I describe above.

  23. Janette, I don’t know that Shiva (or anyone else) argues that traditional agriculture produces greater amounts of cash crops than industrialised agriculture and mono-cropping. What she and many others argue (I’m simplifying, but in general terms) is that there are complex social and ecological consequences from the shift to industrialised agriculture and mono-cropping, and that they are not generally well understood or measured.

    As a personal example, I always remember a woman from Africa who was in one of my public health classes some years back. We’d been talking about hunger and structural adjustment packages etc, and she said simply ‘as long as you have a garden (ie vegetable plot) you are all right’. If people don’t have a vegetable plot, and only rely on a cash crop, they can experience total loss. In that case they might have to do something like move to the slums of a large city, where they might find some sort of work, because markets mean there always money in circulation somewhere, but whole ways of life and social systems can be destroyed.

  24. Ikon I can’t really debate you on the philosophical stuff because I’ve never really studied philosophy. However I was referring more back to your claims about what ‘we’ (implicitly individual adults) think and feel. I think they are quite laden with particular cultural and probably gendered assumptions. For example, does a pregnant woman object to the invasion of her body space by an incipient other? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Do Indigenous people experience the same separation from country and other species that ‘we’ do?

  25. Val, the destruction of the old ways of life and the exrant social systems is in almost every respect a good thing. Who in their right mind would want to live like poor ignorant food insecure peasant? What of the oppressive patriarchy associated with such systems?

    Its nice to hear that you had an African in your class. I have rice paddy farmer in-laws- my husband is Laotian. None of them want their kids to stay on the farm. Life on the farm means malnourishment, periodic hunger, debt, no money and no education.

    Shiva, a rich upper caste Brahmin, is a quack.

  26. Ikon I can’t really debate you on the philosophical stuff because I’ve never really studied philosophy.

    I have really studied philosophy, and I can’t debate that stuff either because there’s nothing there to debate. It’s gibberish without a scintilla of sense. I mention this because, if you find yourself in any way troubled by reading what Ikonoclast has written, you may find it reassuring to be informed that it’s meaningless.

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