Sunday, February 26, 2012

Enough Nukes

The U.S. has 1,656 nuclear warheads deployed. Obbama wants to reduce them. In hearings last week, Rep. Thornberry R-Texas objected. For military reasons? No, his district has the Plantex plant that built many of the warheads and still maintains them. It would be cheaper and safer if we sent all the employees a severance check. While the Republicans argue over who hates gays the most, no one talks about the dangers of nuclear warheads.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Capitalism is commonly described as the system of private ownership (often rarefied as individualistic, though in fact it is corporate and collective). Its primary character is a system wherein selected corporations are given totemic symbols in their accounts (no printing press necessary) enabling them to order people and resources around. The primary creation of these symbols by commercial banks is the essence of capitalism. It requires collective action and legitimation far beyond the individual. This is far from just an assortment of individuals buying cheap and selling high. Markets are only a handmaiden of the essentially collective monetary system—collective, planned and centralized.

The private ownership of capital begs the question of where capital comes from in the first place. No individual Robin Crusoe ever created a unit of credit that can be subsequently traded for labor or iron. The very word capitalism suggests its essence is capital, a collective institution, not individualism. The common dichotomy of capitalism vs. socialism misses the point.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Right to Work (or right to steal)

If there was ever a misleading label, it is “right to work” laws that prohibit employers from automatically with-holding union dues from wages. The law could be called “right to benefit from the efforts of others.” If a union obtains higher wages and better work conditions from employers, all employees benefit whether or not they stood in the picket lines or contributed to union administrative costs. There is no easy guide to public policy here when freedoms conflict. Whose freedom counts is the tough issue.

Super Bowl Blues

The average 30 second ad during the Super Bowl cost $3.5 million. Absurd. They were wasted on me, I did not watch.