Friday, April 27, 2012

400. The Utopia of the Free Market


In the previous lecture I introduced the social and economical principle of "commons",  common meadows for instants which can be used for the basic needs of a community.

These commons seem to be destroyed by the rise of the free market, but today we see them return, when countries limit catch quota for fish or oppose to total destruction of rainforests for only plain profit.

The facts themselves force us to see this earth with it limited resources as our common. There is an increasing insight, that leaving everything to a free market economy with unlimited  growth is an absurdity.

In the subsistence economy there were three organizing economical principles. One, the commons, I have presented to you, the other two are reciprocity and redistribution.

Reciprocity is an important mechanism to stimulate social cohesion in a community. In a free market society, where everything can be bought for money, reciprocity,at least according to Ayn Rand, is not done.

However, it still exists and belongs to our evolutionary heritage, like for instance chimpanzees give each other food or seek for  fleas in each other's fur.

While reciprocity in societies dominated by the subsistence principle was almost a must for survival, in our market society it is mainly a matter of free choice.

Gifts with Christmas or birthdays, volunteering for all kinds of activities in your neighborhood, clubs, at work or for friends are still important to create the feeling of social cohesion. Thence, money can't buy everything.

Redistribution of goods played for the first time a part in societies which depend on agriculture, like in ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia.

Obviously this redistribution took place primarily in need of non-producing groups: priests, state officials and the army. All was paid in kind. Money was hardly used.

In today's society redistribution is neatly organized by redistributing our tax money. It took a long learning process to get as far as we have come now. I'll discuss that later.

The discussion about this redistribution of our tax money we call politics, where socialism has quite different ideas about it than neoliberalism.

When we look back on these three basic economical organizing principles: Commons, Reciprocity and Redistribution, there is something remarkable about them.

Ayn Rand rejects them all three sharply in the name of the role that money should play, not only on the market but in all social relationships.

In Atlantis, Rand's utopia, everything is dominated by the dollar and all buildings are decorated with the dollar sign like a cross on a church tower.

It is to no surprise, because the Atlantis oath is:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I
will never live for the sake of another
man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Dagny Taggart learn that Atlantis in not a place where it is allowed to ask for help. When John Galt, her lover, offers to help her in the kitchen, she reminds him of the rules.

She is paid for what she is doing. And here we see the weird view of man Rand offers: the creative, productive, but completely isolated individual.

Only the free market is the principle. It may  be clear that any form of redistribution is rejected by Rand. 

Three words are taboo and forbidden in Atlantis: need, help and sharing as a community. Thus we can conclude that we are fortunately not living in Rand's Atlantis.


The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: For those who do not know Ayn rand and Atlantis
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: indeed wouldn't be nice at all
[13:25] Debbie Dee (framdor): loveless efficiency - steam powered
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: we would be like machines
[13:25] herman Bergson: Ayn Rand is a writer who published the novel "Atlas Shrugged" in 1957
[13:25] herman Bergson: In the novel she describes an ideal society, named Atlantis
[13:25] herman Bergson: Thank you...
[13:26] herman Bergson: The floor is yours...where Bejiita already was dancing ^_^
[13:26] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you Professor!
[13:26] Mick Nerido: We are moving toward an Ayn Rand world it seems...
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: Ayn Rand has a really strange view if she thinks we should reject our social needs and just use each other for oneself
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): So, the current state of the first world - the free market world - is already like Atlantis
[13:27] herman Bergson: Well Debbie....
[13:27] herman Bergson: neoliberalism is breaking down the welfare state in a number of countries indeed...
[13:28] herman Bergson: UK, Netherlands....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: Sweden
[13:28] herman Bergson: The US never reached that level...
[13:28] Mick Nerido: Ronald Reagen started it in the us
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Mick...the big buddy of Thatcher in the UK
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): I mean in the sense that we see looming energy crises, and just keep cranking up the economy at all costs
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): Being rich is more important than survival in many places.
[13:29] Mick Nerido: Big corps own the gov in the US
[13:29] herman Bergson: yes, Debbie but there is a growing counter movement
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): There was one when my dad was a hippy -
[13:30] herman Bergson: yes Mick…like here....
[13:30] herman Bergson: They talk about the Financial Markets.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: They seem to own the political situation in the world...
[13:31] herman Bergson: The repeating question..... Oh dear...How will the financial Markets respond to this or that development
[13:31] Mick Nerido: They own the politicians
[13:31] Kime Babenco: The economies are drifted by stock exchanges, and ever raising gains... the sky is the limit... As every country has to need a growing economy... How can it grow ? If others do less? Or a continuing growth of worlds population ... It can not grow forever... So we need to accept that, and reach a maintainable ceiling... Maybe we already over it...
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: In europe almost all nations are obliged to save money and in all these nations the governments are voted out now, where is the reciprocity in europe?
[13:32] Mick Nerido: there is no limit to how much u can contribute to a candidate
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): Corporations have become more than the workers... With their modern financial and production systems, they take on a need for growth, often beyond the directors control.
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes....all hard questions.....
[13:33] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Last week you mentioned Garrett Hardin
[13:33] herman Bergson: Yes...
[13:33] Bhelle Alacrity: so how do you pay for all of this?
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes complicated stuff
[13:33] Bhelle Alacrity: Where does the money come from?
[13:33] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): I read Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well...I really don't know....
[13:33] Lizzy Pleides: raining from heaven, lol
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: well some companies seem to believe that
[13:33] Kime Babenco: Tell me where!
[13:34] herman Bergson: Since World War II the governments in my country (like in many others) have spent more money then they received from taxes...
[13:34] Fred123 Aiten: Growth of Financial Markets is not a completely bad thing. Because the pension funds invest heavily in the markets many people rely of good growth to provide a living pension
[13:34] Mick Nerido: wealth come from the combined work done by ALL the people
[13:34] herman Bergson: I think that that is the beginning of all misery...
[13:34] Kime Babenco: I agree
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: for sure
[13:34] Kime Babenco: But I am from a country that is a bad example
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Fred I know....
[13:35] herman Bergson: Which one ids that Kime...Greece?
[13:35] Kime Babenco: No, Brasil
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:35] Kime Babenco: Doing fine now
[13:35] herman Bergson: I thought that Brazil is doing fine now economically
[13:36] Kime Babenco: We have to help Europe now
[13:36] Kime Babenco: lol
[13:36] Kime Babenco: Yes, but I meant in the passed
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well..you could buy a country or two perhaps...
[13:36] herman Bergson: the other countries will be bought by China....^_^
[13:37] Mick Nerido: China may swolow us all lol
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hehe yes soon china own the world
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): China will also crash - energy and overpopulation
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): and now overproduction
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: but chinas government is a bad example cause how they treat people
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: yes china will have problems too on long term
[13:38] Mick Nerido: I'm afraid war will be the result of all this misery
[13:38] Kime Babenco: It's not all good here... As in every country... (I guess) it's a few that gain a lot, for the others it may improve a bit or remain the same
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: censor torture etc.
[13:38] Fred123 Aiten: I agree Mick, unrest is the most likely consequence
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: we have a concentration of atomic weapons in asia
[13:38] herman Bergson: This is the world we live in, dear class...you all have your country and economy....
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): censorship and torture are widely practiced by the USA at this time...
[13:39] Fred123 Aiten: either between countries or within a country
[13:39] Mick Nerido: The competion for resources will be the cause
[13:39] herman Bergson: But one thing to keep in mind is...
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): the internet bill is being pushed through the senat
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): and Guantanamo bay still exists
[13:39] herman Bergson: that 99% of the discussions in your country about human welfare are formulated in economical terms...
[13:39] herman Bergson: The political discourse has become an economical discourse...
[13:40] herman Bergson: And that is a remarkable thing...
[13:40] herman Bergson: A consequence of the free market utopia...
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: all is about money, like here they cut down on schools and other important stuff to save money
[13:40] Kime Babenco: Who's country ?
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: thats NOT where to save money
[13:40] herman Bergson: almost all countries Kime
[13:40] Kime Babenco: Ah,ok
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): you said politics was about redistribution of taxes - ie always an economic discourse
[13:41] herman Bergson: no Debbie....
[13:41] herman Bergson: Not a redistribution of tax money....in a literal sense
[13:41] herman Bergson: but a redistribution of goods and resources...
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: i am afraid that nobody really will save money
[13:42] herman Bergson: and in our society this has become a very complex process...
[13:42] herman Bergson: For instance.....
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: hi tessa
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Hi Tessa
[13:42] Tessa Zalivstok: apologies herman
[13:42] Tessa Zalivstok: everybody
[13:42] herman Bergson: You have a couple which earns 1000L no children...
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: hi Tessa
[13:43] herman Bergson: another couple..same work same income....but three children....
[13:43] Tessa Zalivstok: hi Bejita
[13:43] herman Bergson: also 1000L a month.....
[13:43] herman Bergson: feedign two mouths or 5 mouths from 1000L while they both contribute to society the same...
[13:44] herman Bergson: then you impose taxes...both pay 200L
[13:44] herman Bergson: you give of the 400L you get 300L to the family with three kids...
[13:45] herman Bergson: that is the meaning of redistribution and living together in a society
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:45] herman Bergson: and with the remaining 100L you organize education or healthcare etc.
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: hmm indeed having kids don't increase your income even there are more to feed
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: so what you have over decrease,
[13:46] herman Bergson: This is called solidarity...
[13:46] Kime Babenco: We have a minimum salary here in Brazil… I know some people work below that in some states, because they are exploited and can not read...
[13:46] Lizzy Pleides: and the couple will be mad, lol
[13:47] Tessa Zalivstok: we just introduced a minimum wage here in Hong Kong
[13:47] Fred123 Aiten: A major problem in the UK is that people are having children simply to get government handouts. They get more for having kids than working
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy..like we all are when we pay taxes....
[13:47] Tessa Zalivstok: an enormous number of people went on welfare
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:47] Tessa Zalivstok: which was less than they were earning
[13:47] herman Bergson: But you can continue the story....
[13:48] herman Bergson: due to this redistribution one of the kids became a doctor who treated the childles s couple...:-)
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): ;) nice
[13:48] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): hmmm
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: thats nice
[13:48] Tessa Zalivstok: Herman I thought we were attacking utopias
[13:48] Kime Babenco: Lula, our ex president, introduced the ZERO FAME plan = no hunger plan... forcing every supermarket do distribute a monthly packet at a minimum prise... It was about 39 R$ , where the minimum salary was at that tim 270 R$ a month
[13:48] Mick Nerido: The mobility we have make us a less cohesive society
[13:49] Tessa Zalivstok: yours sounds just like one
[13:49] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): It doesn't seem very likely Herman
[13:49] herman Bergson: laughs at Tesssa....
[13:49] Bejiita Imako:
[13:49] Tessa Zalivstok: well?
[13:49] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): It doesn't fit with reality
[13:49] herman Bergson: These are the basics of a political debate Tessa....
[13:50] Tessa Zalivstok: let me put a different fantasy
[13:50] herman Bergson: Though in parlment the pictures are more complex indeed
[13:50] Tessa Zalivstok: a family earns 1000L
[13:50] Tessa Zalivstok: they pay 550 L in taxes
[13:50] herman Bergson: that is just hypothetical....just to have a number
[13:50] Tessa Zalivstok: which is what seems to be the average take in Europe at the moment
[13:50] Tessa Zalivstok: no
[13:51] Tessa Zalivstok: I'm wrong
[13:51] Tessa Zalivstok: it pays 300 L in taxes
[13:51] herman Bergson: yes...
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: thats 55 % tax
[13:51] Tessa Zalivstok: which isnt enough for the kid to become a doctor
[13:51] Kime Babenco: Let her finish
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: a bit much
[13:51] herman Bergson: I pay almost 50% of my income to taxes
[13:51] Tessa Zalivstok: so the government borrows a further 220L against that
[13:51] herman Bergson: There we go....
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: but i think there is a tax law that says that we  should pay more in tax in %¨
[13:52] herman Bergson: yes Tessa ...I know ...:-)
[13:52] Velvet (velvet.braham): Herman, that seems awfully high!
[13:52] Tessa Zalivstok: adding it to the previous 10000L which it has borrowed againstthe family's taxes
[13:52] herman Bergson: It is far more complicated than I described...
[13:52] Kime Babenco: Each country has a different system...
[13:52] Tessa Zalivstok: then goes to the bond markets to borrow the extra money
[13:52] herman Bergson: I just tried to elucidate a basic idea of social solidarity
[13:52] Tessa Zalivstok: hoping that everybody will believe that governments eventually pay back
[13:53] Kime Babenco: Maybe you would like to go back to ancient USSR with no unemployment and free medical ?
[13:53] Tessa Zalivstok: that sounds like a good idea
[13:53] herman Bergson: No Kime absolutely not...
[13:53] Tessa Zalivstok: why not herman
[13:53] Tessa Zalivstok: sounds good to me
[13:53] Kime Babenco: I was not serious... it was question agains the other extreme...
[13:54] Tessa Zalivstok: we just have to take filthy money off the table here
[13:54] herman Bergson: That deprived almost every citizen of a sense of solidarity...the state takes care of everything..
[13:54] Tessa Zalivstok: sorry
[13:54] herman Bergson: That was maximal government control....and it collapsed..
[13:54] Tessa Zalivstok: thats the basic idea of solidarity
[13:54] Kime Babenco: Yes, I agree...
[13:54] Kime Babenco: No long hours... because you salary remains the same...
[13:54] Tessa Zalivstok: so what's your working model herman?
[13:54] herman Bergson: Theoretically yes..Tessa....but it conflicts with human nature
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: there must be a balance between all free and government
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: which country makes it work?
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: oops
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: totally free and speeds out of control like a roler coaster that's the free market
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: country
[13:55] Kime Babenco: I guess... so far ... none
[13:55] herman Bergson: North Korea??? ^_^
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: heheh
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: but not too much control either
[13:55] Bejiita Imako: and must be done in the right way
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: where they're starving in the streets?
[13:55] Tessa Zalivstok: seriously herman
[13:56] Kime Babenco: Even in New York
[13:56] herman Bergson: I think there is a continuum.....
[13:56] Tessa Zalivstok: there must be some country which approaches your ideal
[13:56] Debbie Dee (framdor): Not mine...
[13:56] Bejiita Imako: north korea is terrible, the people dies while Kim bath in money and plan how to erradicate the planet with nuclear weapons
[13:56] herman Bergson: to the left absolute communism.....tot the right absolute anarchy…
[13:56] Debbie Dee (framdor): nor any around me in southern africa
[13:56] Tessa Zalivstok: yes but nthwere must be somewhere
[13:56] Lizzy Pleides: when we are able to manage greed, then we will get solidarity, ... because greed seems to be a fundamental quality of man
[13:56] Kime Babenco: Otherwise we would all go there, or try to...
[13:56] Tessa Zalivstok: otherwise the discussion seems empty
[13:57] Tessa Zalivstok whispers: is it Sweden?
[13:57] Kime Babenco: Perfection is not of this world
[13:57] Tessa Zalivstok: Cuba?
[13:57] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy......I agree
[13:57] Tessa Zalivstok whispers: Armenia?
[13:58] Tessa Zalivstok: Monaco seems successful
[13:58] Debbie Dee (framdor): Greed is multiplied through advertising....
[13:58] Kime Babenco: Lol
[13:58] herman Bergson: Our whole debate here with respect to the utopia of the free market is the question
[13:58] herman Bergson: what is the role of a government in a society
[13:58] Tessa Zalivstok: yes but you posited a model
[13:58] Tessa Zalivstok: of the family with the young doctor
[13:58] Tessa Zalivstok: so
[13:58] Tessa Zalivstok: it seems you have something in mind
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:59] Bejiita Imako:
[13:59] Tessa Zalivstok: somewhere must at least approach this
[13:59] herman Bergson: I always have something in mind Tessa ^_^
[13:59] Kime Babenco: Antarctica
[13:59] Debbie Dee (framdor): (Laughing out Loud)
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: BRRRRR Antarctica
[13:59] Tessa Zalivstok: America with it's alleged torture doesn;t seem to be it
[13:59] Tessa Zalivstok: the old soviet union has been dismissed
[13:59] Bejiita Imako: cold
[14:00] Kime Babenco: Yes, I know... I am sorry
[14:00] Tessa Zalivstok: You seem to think Europe has no money
[14:00] herman Bergson: So I'll have my next lecture in mind now and thank you all for you creative participation in the discussion....
[14:00] Tessa Zalivstok: must be somewhere
[14:00] Lizzy Pleides: is the new Russia much better?
[14:00] Tessa Zalivstok: otherwise I'm depressed
[14:00] herman Bergson: I have some money Tessa...:-)
[14:01] Kime Babenco: There is plenty of money ... in the world...
[14:01] Tessa Zalivstok: Tessa hangs head
[14:01] Debbie Dee (framdor): Tessa, depression is appropriate.....
[14:01] herman Bergson: Feel free to continue..but officially...Class dismissed ^_^

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

399: The Utopia of the Free Market - Can it be stopped?


The free market, which nowadays is experienced as inevitable, unescapable has not been always the dominating economic principle.


In a previous lecture I told you that till the 16th century we speak of a subsistence economy.


A subsistence economy only possesses enough goods to be used by a particular oikos, tribe or nation to maintain its existence and provides little to no surplus for other investments.


It is a kind of economy, which is not driven by a constant need for growth. The market was at most a place to obtain some additional consumer goods.


But put a bunch of people together with a Randian attitude, which means driven by rational self-interest, and you can witness "The Tragedy of the Commons".


An example of a common is in  medieval land tenure in Europe, shepherds sharing a common parcel of land, on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze.


The idea comes from ecologist Garrett Hardin and was published in Science in 1981. The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, 


acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone's long-term interest for this to happen.


In Hardin's example, it is in each shepherd's interest to put the next (and succeeding) cows he acquires onto the land, even if the quality of the common is damaged for all as a result, through overgrazing. 


The shepherd receives all of the benefits from an additional cow, while the damage to the common is shared by the entire group.


If all shepherds make this individually rational economic decision, the common will be depleted or even destroyed, to the detriment of all.


In a way this happened in 16th century England, where the commons were not depleted but made to private property of the local gentry.


It happened in 1989 in Mongolia after the fall of communism and the free market made its entrance and prizes dropped.


In 1991 the number of animals, mainly goats that have a devastating effect on grasslands, was doubled, and the results were dramatic.


Like in the 16th and 17th century, because of this rational self-interest behavior, tenthousands of people lost their means of living and became contractors, hired workers.


A vast reservoir of workers who fitted in perfectly in the system of production of the free market. people who went to the big cities looking for work.


Do we now have to conclude that modern man as homo economicus public goods ("commons"), fisheries and water resources inevitably will destroy due to his on personal gain oriented behavior?


Do we go under due to the Tragedy of the Commons?  My answer is "NO". There are already examples where the free market has to step back. Maybe you know these examples too?!


The Discussion

The text was lost due to a harddisk crash and totall loss of data on that disk.
Maybe I'll be able to get is from a student's logfile

Thursday, April 19, 2012

398 The Utopia of the Free Market Michael Sandel

This weekend there was an interview with and an article about Michal Sandel in my newspaper.I insert this lecture in my series to bring him to your attention.

Michael J. Sandel (born March 5, 1953) is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University.

He is best known for the Harvard course 'Justice' which is available to view online, and for his critique of Rawls' "A Theory of Justice" in his "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice" (1982).

I mention this man for two reasons. He is an influential philosopher regarding economic issues and the second reason is, that it proofs that we are not alone in our questioning the free

market.

The title of his latest book is expressive "What Money Can't Buy" (April 2012) and in the interview he questions the introduction of the market in education, healthcare or even in our

private life.

`In recent decades, social inequality has increased, especially in the United States and parts of Europe. It is often seen as unjust relative to the poor.

That is true. But there is another reason to worry about the growing disparity between rich and poor. Too large a gap makes it increasingly difficult to see ourselves as citizens who share a common life. This damages the moral fabric, which our society is made of´, he says.

We live in a period of market-triomfalism. The free market is regarded as the primary instrument to bring wellbeing and prosperity.

The idea of the free market stays so popular because it is related to a sense of freedom. We are the people who may choose, what we want.

And here Sandel touches on the quintessence of my current project. The free market is neutral, a-moral, it is said.

As soon as you question the freedom of choice, you have to take a moral stand and as soon as you do that others will accuse you that you try to restrict their freedom.

Yet you can not deny that issues as redistribution of income, education and healthcare have moral characteristics. It is wrong to do as if you can take decisions in these areas denying the presence of moral questions here.

Against the freedom of the consumer Snadel puts the freedom of citizens, the freedom as a political community collectively deciding on the organization of society. However, the

economic forces have become so strong that citizens have less and less influence on them.

`What I am most concerned about is how this economic thinking dispels other values by introducing the language of free choice, cost efficiency and so on`, said Sandel.

As you see, we are not alone in questioning the sense and nonsense of the ideas behind the free market.

Nor alone with the idea that the overestimation of the free consumer is a threat to the social values in our society.

Nor alone with the idea that we are social and moral beings and not just the homo economicus in our quest for a better world.


The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:19] Debbie Dee (framdor): yeah!
[13:19] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Herman....
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: ?
[13:20] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Would you say that today's talk was highly significant in this course?
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: hmm I read recently in a paper how thay even though the companies go + want even more so they close the factories here and lot of people loose their jobs so the

owners can get even more money
[13:20] herman Bergson: Well...at least as a confirmation that the topic I have chosen here is debated at other levels as welll
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: Jofa, a manufacturer of Hockey gear closed recently for that reason
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: tragic
[13:21] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Hmm It seems more than that to me somehow
[13:21] Rina (rinascita) is online.
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: Adidas took over and moved it to Poland
[13:22] herman Bergson: In a way I gave an outline of where we will end with this project
[13:22] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes
[13:22] Debbie Dee (framdor): The biggest problem I see is that our modern systems are based on consuming our planet. The wealth comes from stored energy, and we use it up so

fast.
[13:22] herman Bergson: So Beertje, I hope this cheered you up a little?
[13:23] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): *agrees with Debbie
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no..not yet
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....
[13:23] Debbie Dee (framdor): The shocking figure for me is we;ve burnt half the fuel in just over 100 years
[13:23] herman Bergson: the current problem is the overestimation of the consumer.....as the so called free choosing individual
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): ok. The result is overconsumption
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes, I think the environment should be the main work of science from now on
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: and that fully working stuff is thrown away for newer things
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: thats waste
[13:24] herman Bergson: Google on Michael Sandel...interesting person.....!
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): and the economic systems need to make that happen.
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: how debbie?
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: while they make more and more money of our consumption that they stimulate with comercials all day long
[13:25] herman Bergson: He is one of the people who have the same ideas as I have...or the other way around...whatever
[13:25] herman Bergson: what I want to say is, that there is an ongoing debate.
[13:25] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): I find it very difficult to imagine a change to the system, I will try and read Michael Sandel
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: i dont buy more then what i need, my tv is around 5 years but it works and im happy with it, good pic and so
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: tv
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): I think we need to use the tools that stimulate consumption, to protect the environment and resources
[13:26] herman Bergson: The most important issue is REDISTRIBUTION....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: im also making sure i buy good quality stuff that lasts
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yes Bejita but I bet you are not using an old PC
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): a 486 or something lol
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: my pc is as old as the tv except the graphics card
[13:26] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): ok :)
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: BUT the core 2 cpus are so powerful it works still like a rocket
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: 6600 2.4 gHz
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: really happy with it
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yeah well thats not an old pc then
[13:27] herman Bergson: Ok let's not discuss computers ....lol
[13:27] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Redistribution to make a significant change, cannot be simply within members of a town , or country , but globally. and for that to happen there

will be losers as well as winners
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:27] Lizzy Pleides: the media are part of the system, even the babies are bombed with commercials when they watch tv
[13:27] herman Bergson: Let's discuss what is going on in the world...
[13:27] herman Bergson: and what you see is that richer get richer and poor people get poorer...
[13:27] Debbie Dee (framdor): Having a forest or an unpolluted river needs to be the desired outcome, promoted on tv. And the price of stored energy should be radically escelated.
[13:27] herman Bergson: Look at Russia and China....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: yes not a good development
[13:28] herman Bergson: all of a sudden there is a small upperclass of capitalists...
[13:28] herman Bergson: an amazing development for a communist country...
[13:28] Friend (friend.oliva): ...a bunch of criminals
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): why criminals?
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): *laughs
[13:29] herman Bergson: The weirdest things happen overthere indeed Friend :-)
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: cause they threat the rest of the people like crap
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): here we go
[13:29] herman Bergson: That is waht the future demands....
[13:30] herman Bergson: not absolute frree choice consumer individualiasm.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: but good arguments for redistributing the wealth of this earth...
[13:30] Friend (friend.oliva): ...you need to have money, to feel free in that market system
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Does this challenge democracy?
[13:30] Lizzy Pleides: but this won't work in a democratic system
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: and without money you as human is worthless
[13:31] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): So long as everyone here understands that initially at least they will be significant losers.
[13:31] herman Bergson: It has worked in a democratic system.....
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): If we are prescribing something different from what democracy has given us....
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: everything have a price it seems
[13:31] herman Bergson: We have a wellfare state....
[13:31] Debbie Dee (framdor): I am not sure that we have a democracy these days. no one seems to vote any more .
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: but can you set a price on a life?
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:31] herman Bergson: But for some reason there is a political movent putting much energy in breakin git down
[13:32] herman Bergson: and drive us in the direction of Randian Individualism
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): As far as democracy goes I ask 'Would turkeys vote for Christmas'
[13:32] Lizzy Pleides: the politiciand only get votes when they promise welfare and growth and richness for everybody
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy.....
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I think that agrees with what Im saying (?)
[13:33] herman Bergson: And the result is that all democratic countries face enormous national debts....
[13:33] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Herman would you not agree that in redistribution of wealth the West will be significant losers. they will be Merlin's Turkeys
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: the prob in sweden is that the politicans promise so much and after the election
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): *smiles
[13:33] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: its clear it was just lies
[13:33] herman Bergson: I don't think so Annie....
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: ment nothing
[13:33] Ageliki Mekanic is offline.
[13:34] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): So you have to raise the standard of living in South America, Africa and the far East without in anyway affecting the West?
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: and the party wwe have now do all fpor the rich
[13:34] herman Bergson: It seems that every government is the past decades ahs thought...ok we spend some extra money..the next elected governemtn will clear it up
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: and hide it under a lot of bullshit talk
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Annnie and that is very well possible....
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: as long you have a job its ok but if you loose it god heltp you
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: they only think from one election to the next
[13:35] herman Bergson: Those continents have enormous resources
[13:35] herman Bergson: which are not yet used
[13:35] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): True
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: thats how it is here nowadays since they came to the power
[13:35] herman Bergson: Agricuture in Aftrica is at a low level...
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: the Moderates they are called
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: a blue party
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: = capitalist
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): There is not much water in africa...
[13:36] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): True again but we like that
[13:36] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): We like Africa to be aplace we can visit to look at wildlife
[13:36] herman Bergson: Well...let's not get stuck in discussing details...
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes ;)
[13:36] Lizzy Pleides: but they have mineral resources
[13:36] herman Bergson: but this world still has lots of possibilities
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): we do. and they get ripped out of the earth and sent overseas, with the profits, by the gloabal corps.
[13:37] herman Bergson: But not when all is in the hands of a small rich upperclass....without any democratic control on their actions
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: indeed
[13:37] Debbie Dee (framdor): Ant the africans stay poor while the wealthy get new stuff
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:37] Lizzy Pleides: it seemes we have reached that point already herman
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: thats so tragic i cant believe it
[13:38] herman Bergson: What point Lizzy?
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: the inhabitants of africa get nothing or even get murdered by the companies
[13:38] Lizzy Pleides: a small rich upperclass owns everthing
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: then they take all
[13:38] Amera Hansome (amera.pomilio) is online.
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: modern times slavery
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy....but that doesnt mean it can not be changed....
[13:39] herman Bergson: It also involves a philosophy on private property....
[13:39] Lizzy Pleides: do you think its possible to step back to social economy?
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): It is vital to find a way
[13:39] herman Bergson: A discussion on the sense of making someone earn 21 million a year
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well...I believe so yes......
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's not a step back Lizzy..it's a step forward to social economie
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes what do you do with that much money? dont get it
[13:40] herman Bergson: The financial crisis brought is at the edge of an abbys...
[13:40] herman Bergson: Governments saved the banking system because they feared a meltdown...
[13:41] herman Bergson: So it is business as usual it seems in that financial world...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: money itself have no value its what you can buy for it that have an actual value i use tosay
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: for us its a step forward but not for the rich people
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): The economy is still screwed....
[13:41] herman Bergson: yes...and WE ar ehere discussing these issues....
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): watch as the energy prices keep pushing it
[13:41] herman Bergson: Dont think we are the only people in this world who discuss these issues...
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie..
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: no must be lots that do
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: for sure
[13:42] herman Bergson: We have oilcompany SHell here....
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: this system of today is so unfair
[13:42] herman Bergson: the gazoline prizes are sky high at the moment....
[13:42] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: perhaps we have a revolution again in some years?
[13:43] herman Bergson: and crisis or no crisis...SHELL achieves profits in billions year after year..!
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: soon we cant afford to go anywhere and the oil companies have bought up and shut down all development of alternatives like battery developmnet and hydrogen
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: i heard about before
[13:43] herman Bergson: How is that possible.....
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): You will. We had one here in 1994 with Mandella.
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): Revolutions can help
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes....
[13:44] herman Bergson: Maybe a revolution agains these market manipulating big companies
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: we need to find a good alternative energy source but how dows it come that battery tech havent developed hardly at all since the first electric car
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: and thats before the combustion engine was even invented
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): The problem is the amount of enrgy we use is too much for a battery
[13:44] herman Bergson: Just remember my previous lecture....
[13:45] herman Bergson: We live in an economy focused ..obsessed by growth...
[13:45] Lizzy Pleides: a little start is the ”occupy wallstreet" movement, isn't it?
[13:45] herman Bergson: But for centuries we lived in a subsistence economy
[13:45] herman Bergson: that means....
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): You can draw 3 kw from a electric plug - that needs about 30 sqm of solar panel
[13:45] herman Bergson: we only produced what we needed
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): a big bmw produces 380 kw
[13:46] Debbie Dee (framdor): 100 plugs
[13:46] Debbie Dee (framdor): batteries arent gonna happen
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): On square metre lets in 1kw of energy from the sun
[13:46] herman Bergson: You can convert the whole Sahara dessert on on big solar energy p[lant :-))
[13:46] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): *One
[13:46] Debbie Dee (framdor): yep and cells are about 10% efficient
[13:46] Bejiita Imako: but then u have to transport the energy all mover the world
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): so even at 1kw/sqm thats 380 sq m for your car
[13:47] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): That is direct heat but of course I agree the conversion to electricity is much much less
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: you d need to use billions of volts to minimize losses = impossible
[13:47] herman Bergson: yes like we transport all data from here all over the world....
[13:47] herman Bergson: Debbie in South Africa can read this...
[13:47] herman Bergson: and you in Sweden Bejiita
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: data is one thing power is trickier
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): absolutely
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): data is easy - low power
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:48] herman Bergson: We transport gas and oil through evry long pipelines across continents...
[13:48] herman Bergson: There still is so much possible...
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: and you can do it with laser and repeathers along the way
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: yues but need huge pumps consuming 100s MW of power
[13:48] herman Bergson: Bu twhat it all boils dow to is politics and ethics,,,
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): I hope that the data revolution is enabling people like us to think better and more globally
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: to pump the oil
[13:49] herman Bergson: and that is the discussion we have to have...
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well Debbie..in a way we do..dont we...
[13:49] Frankie Lonergan is online.
[13:49] herman Bergson: We are from all over this globe...
[13:49] herman Bergson: Look at the map on the wall...
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes. Thats why I come to school, Prof :)
[13:49] herman Bergson: every red dot is a reader of our blog!
[13:50] herman Bergson: and that is a good feeling....
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: ?
[13:50] herman Bergson: we may be a tiny drop in the ocean.....
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): I see me on your map ;)
[13:50] Friend (friend.oliva): :9
[13:50] herman Bergson: smiles....
[13:50] herman Bergson: yes!
[13:50] herman Bergson: But I believe that all these tiny drops one day will become an ocean themselves...
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ?
[13:51] herman Bergson: so...let's get ready for the next lecture ^_^
[13:51] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your inspiring participation
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: nice as usual
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: ?
[13:51] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ?
[13:52] Friend (friend.oliva): Thank you :)
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:52] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks Herman, and Co-students ;)
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: nice
[13:52] Bejiita Imako: oki time for me to head back to my swedish friends party
[13:52] herman Bergson: And? Beertje....got some more hope now?
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hmm....not yet
[13:52] herman Bergson: smiles...
[13:54] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thanks Herman, its very interesting
[13:55] herman Bergson: thank you Annie
[13:55] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks again Herman - I do enjoy these lectures.
[13:55] herman Bergson: You are welcome Debbie

Monday, April 16, 2012

397: The Utopia of the Free Market - Subsitence economy

In the previous lecture I told you that Polanyi (1886 - 1964)mentions three different mechanisms that organized historical societies to perform two tasks : reciprocity, redistribution and the common household.

These two tasks were:
1. The community must develop a system to produce goods and services which are needed for its survival.

2. It must organize the distribution of the fruits of its production in such a way that the production process can continue.

To perform these tasks it wasn't done always in the way we are used to with our free market mechanism.

The oldest of these three mechanisms, which the homo sapiens shares with all social animals, is that of a group which produces for its own consumption.

As humans we add to that the production of consumer goods, like clothes and tools, which are necessary for survival.

We do this by living in a common household. Common household can mean a number of things: the family, the clan, the tribe, a convent, a medieval lordship, etc.

For the Ancient Greek, as described by Aristotle, this common household, or "oikos" was the family group, including slaves. Managing this oikos was called "oikonomia".

The main goal of the oikos was to produce and be self-supporting: production for its primary livelihood.

It was characterized by what we now call "subsistence economy" . A subsistence economy only possesses enough goods to be used by a particular oikos, tribe or nation to maintain its existence and provides little to no surplus for other investments.

It is a kind of economy, which is not driven by a constant need for growth. The market was at most a place to obtain some additional consumer goods.

In the Middle Ages we see a same kind of subsistence economy, often restricted to large estates owned by some knight or baron.

There we see the mechanisms of reciprocity and redistribution, where the knight offers protection in exchange of part of the crop of the farmers.

In times of famine in such a lordship the ruler took care of redistribution of food, for instance. Main characteristic of this economy was, that it was an economy without money.

Of course there existed money and you certainly must have greedy people through all history, but here I am talking about how money functioned and was embedded in culture and society.

This subsistence economy has lasted for centuries, but between the beginning of the 16th century and mid-nineteenth century the change took place.

The subsistence economy was gradually replaced by the free market economy. A free market is a market where prices are determined by supply and demand.

The basic conviction is here that in a free market, the system of prices is the emergent result of a vast number of voluntary transactions, rather than of political decrees as in a controlled market.

The freer the market, the more prices will reflect consumer habits and demands, and the more valuable the information in these prices are to all players in the economy.

Through free competition between vendors for the provision of products and services, prices tend to decrease, and quality tends to increase.

Thus ended "the War against subsistence", as Ivan Illich called it in 1981. I'll elaborate on this issue in the next lecture.


The Discussion

[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you....
[13:22] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): pfew...
[13:23] Bijou Krokus: clap clap Herman!!!!!
[13:23] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): that is a lot to think about
[13:23] herman Bergson: if you have any questions or remarks...the floor is yours
[13:23] bombay1: thanks Herman for the nice reading
[13:23] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): why...do politicians still want the free market?..they see with their own eyes that it doesn't work
[13:23] bombay1: I didn't know I was so greedy!
[13:23] herman Bergson: the main point is the shift from a subsuistence economy into a free market economy....
[13:24] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): lol Bombay
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: cause they are also greedy the politicans
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: want more and more money, look at their payouts
[13:24] herman Bergson: it is more complex than that Beertje....
[13:24] herman Bergson: in the first place we have to find the reasons for this shift...
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: they have something between 30000 to 60000 sek / month
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: that's almost one years payout for a normal worker
[13:25] herman Bergson: I think one big reason is the change of methods of production
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: sure they have an important job but that amount of money hmm
[13:25] herman Bergson: To give you a historic example....
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: and then here in sweden i think they dont do their job properly at all
[13:26] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): by putting robots instead of eorkers?
[13:26] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): workers
[13:26] herman Bergson: in 1733 the Flying Shuttle was patented.....
[13:26] herman Bergson: this shuttle was the thing that shoots the thread in a loom from left to right....
[13:26] Bejiita Imako: aaa yes, for making fabric
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): Leonardo DaVinci invented the helicopter
[13:27] herman Bergson: where you needed 2 men before now you needed one and the cloth could be much wider too...
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): did he had a patent on it?
[13:27] bombay1: and now we think all is normal
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): ahhhhh
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i see
[13:27] herman Bergson: this means that the production of textiles increased enormously....
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): ah yes
[13:28] bombay1: and still does
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: aaa and the steam engine made everything power driven and started huge textile factories
[13:28] herman Bergson: the weaver didnt produce for his own household or group only....but produced a lot more...
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita....
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: and we need clothing for sure
[13:28] Bejiita Imako: so we dont freeze
[13:29] herman Bergson: another thing is that men became laborers earning wages....
[13:29] bombay1: hihihi you for sure Bejiita !!
[13:29] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): but in those days woman wore the cloths much longer that we do now
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hehe well then there is this moral panic about being naked also today
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:29] herman Bergson: I'll elaborate on these developments in the next lecture...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:29] herman Bergson: but one thing is clear....
[13:29] Bijou Krokus: and now we wear less and less ;-)))
[13:29] Caresse (caresse.czeret): I need a lot of fabric :))))
[13:30] Caresse (caresse.czeret): even for a bikini:))grins
[13:30] Bijou Krokus: not me caresse hihi
[13:30] herman Bergson: it is nearly impossible to return to the old form of economy...
[13:30] Bijou Krokus: I even knit it myself!
[13:30] Bejiita Imako: yes the system we have today is basically welded in like a physical law or something
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: unchangeable
[13:31] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i think they don't want to change
[13:31] herman Bergson: Maybe you remember the 60s where communes were formed based on a subsistence economy idea
[13:31] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): too much profit for them
[13:31] bombay1: they are satisfied with this
[13:31] herman Bergson: protest against consumerism...
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: ths system we use however have many problems
[13:31] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: greedy people only wanting more and more for themselves while the rest is starving cayse cant afford buying food ect
[13:32] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): remembering the 60...we must be old..
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: thats tragic for sure
[13:32] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita...
[13:32] herman Bergson: one of the fundamental problems of today is redistribution of goods
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:32] herman Bergson: as is reciprocity....
[13:33] herman Bergson: the banker squeezes all money out of us but does nothing in return in a social sense
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: nope
[13:33] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): oh very true
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: as i said before
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: before in tome banks were for us
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: now we are for the banks
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: sort of
[13:34] herman Bergson: yes...they call us MUPPETS....
[13:34] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): question is..how will we survife this?
[13:34] herman Bergson: That is how top bankers refer to their customers....
[13:34] herman Bergson: we will Beertje
[13:34] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i'm not that sure anymore
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: hmm that's not too nice name to put on your customers
[13:35] bombay1: we showed that befor
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: muppets
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: like something you just use as you wish for yourself
[13:35] herman Bergson: Indeed Bombay...we survived all kinds of crises....
[13:35] bombay1: and we will do more
[13:35] bombay1: we are made for that
[13:35] herman Bergson: I think that eventually it will boil down to a better redistribution of the goods of this earth....
[13:35] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): 60.000 people are depending on foodbanks now
[13:36] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): here in the netherlands
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:36] Bijou Krokus: and even growing indeed Beertje
[13:36] herman Bergson: foodbanks is a way of redistribution of goods.....
[13:36] herman Bergson: not one I find elegant..but it is
[13:36] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): it depresses me
[13:37] herman Bergson: smile
[13:37] Bijou Krokus: it is a sad idea yes
[13:37] herman Bergson: me too Beertje...
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: hmm not good for sure this development
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: gets me worried
[13:37] Caresse (caresse.czeret): i promiss not to eat that much anymore..
[13:37] Bijou Krokus: not only for the best of many people
[13:37] herman Bergson: But it is only a symptom which shows that there is something wrong with the overall system
[13:37] Bijou Krokus: only for the rich ones
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: yes indeed
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: a clear indicator for sure
[13:38] Bijou Krokus: the riches get richer.. the poor people more poor
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: that something isnt right at all
[13:38] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:38] bombay1: it is terribl to hear that yes....
[13:38] Caresse (caresse.czeret): it makes me angry
[13:39] herman Bergson: well...I'll spend some more lectures on this subject....we are not finished yet...:)
[13:39] Caresse (caresse.czeret): and a lot of other people too
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: we need a new robin hood
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:39] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): a task for you Bejiita..
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: turn everything in right direction again, and distribute resources evenly so everyone can have a good life
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: life
[13:39] Bejiita Imako: not just afew
[13:40] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i thinkit needs a war
[13:40] herman Bergson: this earth is rich enough to offer everybody a good life....
[13:40] bombay1: a sad idea.. but it would work
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: war dont solve problems only kill innocent people in lots
[13:40] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): yes..but the system doesn't listen to that
[13:40] herman Bergson: dont be that pessimistic Beertje....
[13:41] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): sorry
[13:41] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): but after these lessons i feel that way
[13:41] Bijou Krokus: I can understand Beertje.. you will be reminded on what is going on
[13:41] herman Bergson: But we are only halfway Beertje....
[13:41] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i don't see any solution
[13:42] herman Bergson: We have tried to achieve insight in how things work...
[13:42] Bijou Krokus: still more to go
[13:42] herman Bergson: now we are climbing up again from a historical perspective to see what is good and what is wrong with the system
[13:42] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): I want to listen to the rest of your lectures Herman
[13:43] herman Bergson: Basically I may be critical, but I am still optimistic about the homo sapiens and its ability to adapt to new situations
[13:43] Bijou Krokus: I hope you can make us feel that way too Herman
[13:43] Caresse (caresse.czeret): I have to go..can I come again to listen Herman?
[13:44] herman Bergson: So...thank you all for your attention and participation today again....
[13:44] Bijou Krokus: thansk so much for the lesson Herman
[13:44] herman Bergson: Every Tuesday and Thursday Caresse
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: interesting as always
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] Bijou Krokus: bye bye caresse!
[13:44] herman Bergson: 1 PM SL time
[13:44] Caresse (caresse.czeret): bye :))
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: makes you think a lot about stuff for sure
[13:44] bombay1: thanks Herman!!! bye caresse...
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: ㋡
[13:44] herman Bergson: class dismissed... ^_^

396: The Utopia of the Free Market - Karl Paul Polanyi

Karl Paul Polanyi ( 1886, - 1964) was a Hungarian philosopher, political economist and economic historian known for his opposition to traditional economic thought and his book The Great Transformation (1944).

Polanyi is remembered today as the originator of substantivism, a cultural approach to economics, which emphasized the way economies are embedded in society and culture.

In his long career as economist and antropologist he witnessed a number of crises of capitalism. In his opinion, these crises were characteristic for a free market economy.

We only can escape from them by stopping to bet on just that one horse and give room to other methods of economical thought and action, which we know from history.

Because, as he writes in "├ľkonomie und Gesellschaft" (1979) that as people of today " we are made dumb by the domination of the market system, that imposes upon us extremely simplified ideas about the function and role of the economic live in a society."

Note the year, when these words were published ! 1979! Now we have reached 2012 and his words are even more to the point today than in 1979.

An example of the effect of these free market blinkers you can see in Dutch politics. Literally everything is motivated and justified by referring to the benefits of the free market.

Postal services, telecom, public transportation, healthcare, just name it and you'll hear politicians say: we need competition and and a free market in those fields, we need privatization there. This will improve the quality of such services.

So far the result is disastrous. managers go home with fat bonuses, the quality did not improve at all. Things got worse. Some of the services just made deals about pricing among each other to make their customers pay too much for the services, and so on.

Greed and envy are stimulated by this one-dimensional free market belief. Belief in social solidarity is completely drowned by this one-dimensional belief. The only question that seems to count these days is: how much does it cost?

Let's look at the past and ask the question, how production, distribution and consumption of goods was organized in those days.

What we call today economics or economic theory came only slowly into existence since the 16th century and became an independent theoretical realm with the work of Adam Smith 1723 - 1790). We'll get to him later.

Before this period, what we call economics, was emdeded in religious rituals, moral obligations, magic actions, that is, it was embeded in culture,

or to say it in a more contemporary way, profit maximization to pay your shareholders was not a target or issue in those days.

Every human group has to solve two tasks:
1. The community must develop a system to produce goods and services which are needed for its survival.

2. It must organize the distribution of the fruits of its production in such a way that the production process can continue.

In our society both tasked are performed by the market process. To the market of goods and services is added a financial and labor market, which guarantee the distribution and continuation of the capitalist production process.

Polanyi points at three different mechanisms that organized historical societies to perform the two tasks I mentioned: reciprocity, redistribution and the common household.

Within this framework were orderly production and distribution secured. There may have been a lot of individual motives to do so in a group, but a drive to make a profit was not an important motive in those days.

Next lecture I'll elaborate on these three mechanisms, which Polanyi mentions and how they organized for instance Ancient Greek and Medieval societies.


The Discussion

[13:22] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you... ㋡
[13:22] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T * ::::::::::
[13:23] Mick Nerido: why do ou think the profit motive is so dominant?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Feel free to ask questions or add to the lecture
[13:23] Qwark Allen: how we get rid of the money? like we see in sci fi movies
[13:24] herman Bergson: Why is making profit so dominant...
[13:24] herman Bergson: that relates to Qwarks remark....
[13:24] herman Bergson: the point is.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: in the Roman age or in the Middle Ages was accumulation of money was not a general goal
[13:25] herman Bergson: the function of money was different from now, therefore.
[13:25] Mick Nerido: There was no middle class...
[13:25] herman Bergson: And today money is power....
[13:26] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): can we ever go back?
[13:26] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Do we want to?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Good question Beertje.....
[13:26] Qwark Allen: a society that lives on the exchange of services for free?
[13:26] herman Bergson: It is not necessary to go back...as if it was so much better in the past....
[13:27] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i don't think it was better..only different
[13:27] herman Bergson: It is more a matter of adjusting the system to a social survival
[13:27] Mick Nerido: A lot of bartering...
[13:28] herman Bergson: Just keep in mind that the whole western economy was at the edge of the abbys....
[13:28] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): the ones who have the power (money) now..do they want to adjust the system to a social survival?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Governments...that means our taxmoney , had to save banks from collapsing
[13:29] herman Bergson: That is one of the issues Beertje....
[13:29] herman Bergson: The bankers havent learnt a thing.....for them it is business as usual again...
[13:29] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:29] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): they didn't learn anything of the past at all
[13:29] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): As it ever has been
[13:30] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): it's not the first time in history
[13:30] Mick Nerido: The problem is interest earned on money...
[13:30] herman Bergson: A fact is that the politicians have given the wrong signal.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: Banks can stay arrogant, because, when they are near collapse the government will keep them alive
[13:31] herman Bergson: I dont know the reason behind such behavior....
[13:31] Qwark Allen: the ones on the government, work on banks too
[13:31] herman Bergson: Fat bonuses?
[13:31] herman Bergson: Greed...
[13:31] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): ofcourse
[13:31] Qwark Allen: some have a lot invested there to
[13:32] Mick Nerido: Banks take our money give us low intrest and lend out money at higher interest...
[13:32] Qwark Allen: they are like the best friends
[13:32] herman Bergson: I only see that this belief in the Free market does not work....
[13:33] Qwark Allen: i think the lack of regulations was the issue
[13:33] Qwark Allen: free, but regulated
[13:33] herman Bergson: but that politicians use the market idea as a medicine for weverything
[13:33] Qwark Allen: not a anarchy, like is now
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes Qwark....
[13:33] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): How are the politcal parties funded in your country Herman?
[13:33] Mick Nerido: Banks fail when there is a failure of confidence and everyone wants to take their money out of the banks...
[13:33] herman Bergson: and that is the big question....how much regulation...
[13:34] Qwark Allen: i think when ayn rand thought about free market, she said, the government was only a regulation organism
[13:34] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): too much regulation is not freedom at all
[13:34] herman Bergson: parties are funded by the government, by fees from members and sometimes donations
[13:34] Qwark Allen: we saw the opposite of anarchy, in the eastern countries
[13:35] Qwark Allen: where government regulated to much, didn`t work too
[13:35] Qwark Allen: i think there should be a half way term to deal with the situation
[13:35] herman Bergson: yes Qwark....that overregulation deprives people from a feeling of responsibility for their society
[13:35] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): And so parties are funded by people with vested interests, Hedgefund Managers, Bankers and Trades Unions?
[13:36] Qwark Allen: what we saw in 20th century was the 2 opposites of market regaultion
[13:36] herman Bergson: Not in the Netherlands....
[13:36] Qwark Allen: no balance
[13:36] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): K
[13:36] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): That is the case in England
[13:36] herman Bergson: ah yes..the diner parties with Cameron scandal...
[13:37] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): and the cash for honours, lets not let the other parties off.
[13:37] herman Bergson: of course we have lobbyists here too
[13:37] Mick Nerido: Inflation is another problem...
[13:38] herman Bergson: When we'll have a closer look how the situation was historically , maybe we find some new ideas for our economic system...
[13:38] Qwark Allen: true
[13:38] herman Bergson: At least there is one big difference withb the past.....
[13:38] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): i think the politicians won't listen to other ideas
[13:39] Qwark Allen: how to find a balance between free market and regulation? what kind of new regulations we need?
[13:39] Qwark Allen: or regulation mechanisms
[13:39] herman Bergson: Financial markets have become a goal in themselves....as if they are no part of our culture
[13:40] herman Bergson: in the past there was no such thing as an independent economic entity...
[13:40] herman Bergson: Next lecture you'll hear about that in more detail...
[13:40] Qwark Allen: cool
[13:41] Mick Nerido: No Corporations?
[13:41] herman Bergson: It is a general trend that the system doesnt listen to its citizens....
[13:41] herman Bergson: let me give you a stupid example....
[13:41] Qwark Allen: eheheh to start doesn`t sound good
[13:42] herman Bergson: There is a shipyard which has an allowance to build ships up to 110m long....
[13:42] herman Bergson: now due to the crisis there is no work anymore....
[13:42] herman Bergson: except an order for two ships of 135m long....
[13:42] herman Bergson: You wont believe it but the munici[al officials forbid it....
[13:43] herman Bergson: 110 no 135....
[13:43] herman Bergson: result is that the company will go bankrupt and 60 people loose their job if the system doesnt give in
[13:43] herman Bergson: Was in the news today.....
[13:43] herman Bergson: I find it symptomatic....
[13:44] herman Bergson: The system and its regulations havs become a goal as such.....
[13:44] herman Bergson: not its social intentions....
[13:45] herman Bergson: regulations...yes...but how to apply regulations?
[13:45] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): it seems those people don't think anymore
[13:45] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): That may not be the end of the story though Herman, you will have to update us.
[13:45] herman Bergson: civil servants are scared like hell for casuistics...
[13:45] herman Bergson: casuistics
[13:46] herman Bergson: The only one who isnt is the judge in a court
[13:47] Mick Nerido: casuistics?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Well..before you all fall asleep...thank you all for your participation ㋡
[13:47] Haresaaiemeid Beer (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:47] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman!
[13:47] herman Bergson: YEs MIck...it means that you have to treart every situation as a casus/case in itself.....and use judgement in applying rules and regulations....
[13:48] Velvet (velvet.braham): I AM falling asleep, but it's my allergy meds, not you!
[13:48] herman Bergson: Like the 110/135m issue....
[13:48] herman Bergson: ok Velvet....
[13:48] Mick Nerido: sounds like red tape to me lol
[13:48] Velvet (velvet.braham): please excuse me, everyone
[13:48] herman Bergson: Yes Mick.....not a rational application of rules...
[13:49] herman Bergson: Sweet dreams Velvet
[13:49] herman Bergson: So again thank you all
[13:49] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:49] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thank you Herman
[13:50] Mick Nerido: I will be on a road trip thursday, sorry to miss that class :(
[13:50] herman Bergson: A pitty Mick...but we still have our blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

395: The Utopia of the Free Market - Gross National Happiness

In a previous lecture I already remarked that many people think, that the free market is an objective process.

Nobody seems to be responsible for the ideology and the Utopia behind it. There is not such a thing like "The Communist Manifesto" (1848).

I have shown you that this is a mistake. "Atlas Shrugged" (1957) by Ayn Rand is the Capitalist Manifesto, the perfect expression of the utopian ideas, on which capitalism and free market thinking is based.

On a UN- conference a few weeks ago Prime Minister Thinley of Buthan, a small state in the Himalayas between India and China, said the following:

" The economic model, that uses the Gross National Product as the standard, that pursues unlimited growth on a planet with limited resources has become absurd. (…) It is the cause of our irresponsible, immoral and self-destructive actions."

For that reason the government in Buthan has stopped assessing the quality of life and general wealth and welfare by the Gross National Product. It now uses the Gross National Happiness.

The assessment of Gross National Happiness (GNH) was designed in an attempt to define an indicator

that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of Gross National Product (GNP).

Gross National Product (GNP) is the market value of all products and services produced in one year by labour and property supplied by the residents of a country.

Unlike Gross Domestic Product (GDP), now in us by the US, which defines production based on the geographical location of production, GNP allocates production based on ownership.

So, it seems possible to do politics, not obsessed by percentages of economic growth, but by defining a standard of happiness of your inhabitants as leading principle.

And then here we are with our belief in the Free Market as if it were a law of nature. What is really questionable, is,

that the processes of the Free Market are controlled by the homo economicus, who is mainly after his self-interest using rational choices.

There is this peculiar conviction, that the human being is a rational being. Of course, some of our actions are based on rationality, where Rand would say that this means the use of logic only.

But what we call economy, is always embedded in a total of religious and cultural structures. Nowhere you find a stand-alone system of rational economic choices and calculations, which are independent of social relations.

Every economic phenomenon - production, distribution, market, pricing, exchange, etc. - can only be understood within its own context.

Nowhere we find a general, universal and abstract economic logic, which can be applied to all these features alike in different societies.

The currently recognized version of the Seven Capital Sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Our current economic system even stimulates at least two of them in the homo economicus: greed and envy.
-- I also want car and at least bigger than the one of my neighbor. --

This possessive and jealous individualism has become a characteristic of our free market culture, decorated with an "every man for himself" attitude.

Is this a logical consequence of economic relations? What are the basics of economics and , from a historical perspective, has it always (necessarily) been this way? We still have to cover a lot of ground, I'd say.



The Discussion

[13:19] herman Bergson: Thank you... ㋡
[13:19] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I have some sympathy for the free market being a law of nature, e.g. consider Auctions.
[13:19] Mick Nerido: There is a consumer confidence index that measures how optomistic or pesimistic people are...
[13:19] herman Bergson: Don't misunderstand me.....
[13:20] herman Bergson: I do not look for a moral judgement on the Free Market...
[13:20] herman Bergson: In a philosophical sense I just want to know what it really IS....
[13:20] herman Bergson: and so far I have shown that it is a situation driven by utopian ideas and expectations
[13:21] Lizzy Pleides: what is the motivating force for the market Herman? doesn't envy and greed play an important role?
[13:21] herman Bergson: the free market in NOT self regulating as for instance Greenspan thought
[13:22] Bhelle Alacrity: Could I ask the Professor a question?
[13:22] herman Bergson: Yes Lizzy....that is what is at stake here..if you take into account the financial crises
[13:22] herman Bergson: Sure Bhelle
[13:22] Bhelle Alacrity: If you for example want to get a knife sharpened
[13:22] Lizzy Pleides: people seem to confound happiness with richness
[13:22] Bhelle Alacrity: How should the orice for that be set ?
[13:23] herman Bergson: Could you ask your question without using a metaphore Bhelle?
[13:23] Bhelle Alacrity: There must be some mechanism
[13:23] Mick Nerido: Think of the free market as two prize fighters without a refferie!
[13:23] herman Bergson: I dont know what an orice is
[13:24] Bhelle Alacrity: What would it be without a market place
[13:24] herman Bergson: yes mick....
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): price?
[13:24] herman Bergson: Again ...don't misunderstand me...
[13:24] Bhelle Alacrity: For example what did they do in the Soviet Union to set the price for sharpening a knife
[13:24] Bhelle Alacrity: Wonders
[13:24] herman Bergson: I do not judge the phenomenon of the free market as good or bad....
[13:25] herman Bergson: that is completely uninteresting...
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Don't you think that an auction is a good example of things finding their proper value?
[13:25] herman Bergson: Complex question Merlin.....
[13:25] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): hmm
[13:25] herman Bergson: Just be patient with me for a moment....
[13:25] herman Bergson: There are a lot of issues here...
[13:26] herman Bergson: To begin with ...the concept of 'just price'
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): Value is badly represented at auctions - there is no reference to cost to society
[13:26] herman Bergson: I'll get to that in coming lectures
[13:26] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): economics is such a complicated thing to understand ...
[13:26] herman Bergson: Then there is the relation between resources and property....
[13:27] herman Bergson: Who owns the water of the sea.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: How can you own a piece of land...?
[13:27] herman Bergson: Then there is the issue of labor...
[13:27] herman Bergson: labor invested in making a product
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): that was the native american belief
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Land is a good example there
[13:27] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): cannot really own the land
[13:28] Mick Nerido: the concept of private property did not always exist...
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Like if you bought all the land of a country would you be its ruler?
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): No
[13:28] Mick Nerido: the king gave it to his supporters
[13:29] herman Bergson: then take the biblical idea that we are just stewards of this earth....
[13:30] herman Bergson: What I want to say is that in a next lecture I'll like to investigate the concept of economics.
[13:30] Bhelle Alacrity: Professor
[13:30] herman Bergson: what are the basic concepts of economics...
[13:30] herman Bergson: Bhelle...go ahead
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh good!!!!!
[13:30] Bhelle Alacrity: I'm sure you'll excuse me when I say that I think I own a piece of land
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:31] Bhelle Alacrity: maybe I'm mistaken?
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): nopeyoudo
[13:31] herman Bergson: No...of course you can own land....
[13:31] Bhelle Alacrity: I see
[13:31] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Seems a bit like land ownership in SL.
[13:31] Bhelle Alacrity: Confused
[13:31] herman Bergson: it means that you have property rights on it which others have not on that land....
[13:31] Mick Nerido: you own what the government recognizes you own
[13:31] herman Bergson: You can plant there your crop...for instance
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Yeah I like that explanation
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): And leave it to your kids
[13:32] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): You cant keep the cops out though
[13:32] Mick Nerido: There are also mineral rights on land...
[13:32] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): I think humans are territorial; as are many other species
[13:32] herman Bergson: John Locke said that you can only own so much land as you can work on....if I am not mistaken...
[13:33] herman Bergson: A cute idea..but relative...
[13:33] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): by hand of with machines?
[13:33] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): yes, and perhaps with workers too
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): Or with capital-- better question
[13:33] herman Bergson: I have seen fields with 14 combiners in a line harvesting the wheat
[13:34] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I think Locke was flawed there
[13:34] Mick Nerido: you can own only as much land as how much land tax you can afford
[13:34] herman Bergson: taxes is another chapter Mick....
[13:35] Mick Nerido: it means the gov really owns the land!
[13:35] Bhelle Alacrity: Professor?
[13:35] herman Bergson: So plz.....we really need some more time then our 30 to 50 minutes to deal with all the issues you bring up now ^_^
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): no i think not
[13:35] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): We dont have land tax in UK
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): Or in south africa
[13:35] Lizzy Pleides: lucky you!
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): taxes for example will take care of a road so you can get to the land
[13:36] herman Bergson: We have....
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or protection for the land
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma...
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): or fire fighters
[13:36] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): etc
[13:36] Bhelle Alacrity: Professor you said that there was no manifesto like the Communist Manifesto
[13:36] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): But, the cost of access is not proportional to the size of the land
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes I did
[13:37] Bhelle Alacrity: I wonder what you think of Hayeks' "Road to Serfdom"
[13:37] Bhelle Alacrity: It seem to have some of the qualities of a manifesto
[13:37] herman Bergson: yes that is one....the Manifesto I mentioned was "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
[13:37] herman Bergson: a milllion bestseller in the US
[13:38] herman Bergson: I recently read about the book Bhelle....
[13:38] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Were she still alive I suspect Ayn might rewrite some of it.
[13:38] herman Bergson: Hayek is a supporter of the free market
[13:39] herman Bergson: Interesting remark Annie....
[13:39] herman Bergson: yes I would love to have heard her opinion about the current situation
[13:39] herman Bergson: But she died in 1982
[13:40] herman Bergson: Well..tons of issues still to deal with.....
[13:40] herman Bergson: So, you may expect a lot more lectures...
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ LOL ♥
[13:40] Mick Nerido: Thank you Professor
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yay.
[13:40] herman Bergson: I thank you for your inspiring discussion...
[13:41] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ㋡
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): thanks herma
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Bye, Bye ㋡
[13:41] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): for now
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: Thank youu!
[13:41] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: A wonderful Easter for you all!
[13:41] herman Bergson: Tank you Lizzy...
[13:41] herman Bergson: You too..
[13:41] Debbie Dee (framdor): Oh yes..... May the bunny come with many eggs :)
[13:41] Lizzy Pleides: Thank you:-)
[13:41] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): It would be interesting for the class to write down their idea of a utopian world and then we could all compare notes
[13:42] Lizzy Pleides: yes debbie!
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Please excuse me I have a disco waiting :)
[13:42] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bye Herman, Mick, and girls hehe
[13:42] herman Bergson: laughs...
[13:42] herman Bergson: Ok Annie...
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): Bye merlin
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Thanks again Herman
[13:42] Bhelle Alacrity: Oh dear'
[13:42] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): homework Annie?
[13:42] herman Bergson: My pleasure Annie
[13:43] Bhelle Alacrity: I wish I was still a girl
[13:43] herman Bergson: Your idea is nice Debbie
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): see you next week
[13:43] herman Bergson: but really difficult
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): oh Thank you herman
[13:43] Bhelle Alacrity: Bye everybody
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): bye belle, lizzy and herman
[13:44] herman Bergson: Most op the time a utopia story is a book of not less than 250 pages ㋡
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