Sunday, September 23, 2012

418: The Aftermath of Neoliberalism: corrupting fairness

As some of you may know, the State of the Union is an annual address presented by the President of the United States to the United States Congress.
We have something like that on the third Tuesday of September. Then the Dutch queen delivers a speech, of course written by those who are politically responsible. She is just an ornament.
But they made her say something that concerns us seriously here. 
"The growth of the global economy remains below expectations."
Just think this over: 
One: Why has there to be growth, while already a number of economists have said, that we live on a planet with limited resources and that striving for unlimited growth is irresponsible and in fact insane.
Two: 'below expectations' Whose expectations ? Ours? Who formulates these expectations and why and what are the standards? 
Here again you see how the free market economy is taken as an obvious fact without any criticism. Production, consumption and a permanent growth of these two is almost a religious belief in the capitalist society.
Is the market economy THE ultimate system, that is consistent with what we experience as human values? Values we cherish, because they are at the root of our welfare and happiness and make use human in stead of consumers.
Let me be straight. No, the market economy is not the best or only system to do justice to all men. Even more emphatically, 
it can be argued that in some cases this system even corrupts our moral values and that we therefore seriously have to reconsider our human condition with respect to the belief in the free market.
The basic question is: Can money buy everything, like in the Atlantis of Ayn Rand love relations in fact were contracts, regulating the exchange of services in a relation like love, sex, affection and mutual support?
Let's begin with a simple issue: jumping the queue. When I flew with Ryan Air some time ago, I paid some extra. This allowed me to board the plane as one of the first while others had to wait in a long queue.
Unfair? I paid extra for it. Well…. I saw those looks of people in the other queue…. Here we already can make two observations.
One: here we are confronted with inequality based on the fact that I have the money to pay for the extra and others haven't.
Second: there is also a corrupting effect on certain values. Waiting in a queue is accepted by poor and rich. It has an egalitarian, democratic meaning. 
We all have to wait for our turn. We experience that as a social value, not as a good that should be bought and sold on the market. 
Of course, this example of my flight looks trivial, but this market effect goes much further. Lobbyists need access to politicians. They do so by attending all kinds of meetings of committees of Congress in the US.
But a lot of people want to attend these meetings, so you have to be early and stand in line for hours before the meeting begins.
The lobbyists, however, pay people to stand in line for them and exchange places just before the meeting begins. This means that a democratic  and equal right to attend such meetings has become a commodity on the market.
Physicians, who "sell" there mobil phone number for US$15.000 a year, which means that the patient can call him directly and get an appointment the same day. So, no equal accessibility of medic care.
Standing in line - and you can think of any situation where it applies - represents a social value of respecting equal chances for everyone in certain situations, whether you are poor and rich.
This is just in a nutshell a first example, which draws our attention to the fact that the increasing influence of money and the free market is penetrating areas, which once were dominated by non-commercial values.

The Discussion

[13:22] Bejiita Imako: thats not good
[13:22] herman Bergson: Thank you,,, ^_^
[13:22] Qwark Allen: ::::::::: * E * X * C * E * L * L * E * N * T  * ::::::::::
[13:22] Debbie Dee (framdor): Everything has a price these days.
[13:23] Qwark Allen: seems so
[13:23] herman Bergson: If you have any question or remark...the floor is yours :-)
[13:23] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks Herman .
[13:23] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-0
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:23] Qwark Allen: even human life seems to have now a price, and seems very in the low side
[13:23] Kime Babenco: Thanks professor Herman
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie and that is a bad thing....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: and greed show no limit these days, now i read in the morning something that made me jump high
[13:23] Qwark Allen: there is no democracy, as we have been seeing in the last classes
[13:24] herman Bergson: Telll us Bejiita
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: Apple sues a polish apple grower named p,le cause name sounds similar and have an apple as a logo
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: thats SICK!
[13:24] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): LOL
[13:24] Debbie Dee (framdor): I sometimes thin, if you look at world debt, we need growth every year to pay the interest, and the capital is beyond redemption. It is a big ponzy scheme!
[13:24] Qwark Allen: its just another example how the bankers cracy corrupted all society
[13:24] Bejiita Imako: grrr i get so tired of this, Apple behave like a kid sitting in a sand box throwing sand and mud at everyone comes close
[13:25] herman Bergson: It is not just the bankers.....
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: and its a shame on a company that makes good products
[13:25] Qwark Allen: we usually say, that the example comes from the top
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: then they behave like swines and try take over the world
[13:25] Kime Babenco: Some people say , as well philosophers I think, or scientists, that human population on this planet should stop get get more numerous...
[13:26] Qwark Allen: the ruler have respect for human life, their subjects have respect for human life, and vice versa
[13:26] herman Bergson: Keep in mind that there are counter Occupy movemnt....
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): What does quantitative easing mean in this context?
[13:26] Debbie Dee (framdor): printing money?
[13:27] herman Bergson: I don't know Debbie....
[13:27] herman Bergson: And this planet, Kime, can support more people than there live now...
[13:27] Qwark Allen: that reminded me, about charities movements! its just another way to laundry money for the big bankers
[13:27] Kime Babenco: Don't believe in humans going to Mars... lol
[13:27] Kime Babenco: as an extend of earth
[13:27] herman Bergson: No...MArs is not an option...
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh i think it is
[13:28] herman Bergson: You do Gemma?
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): The planet will survive - the people wont,
[13:28] Qwark Allen: we need a far more advanced technology to go there, then the one we have now
[13:28] Qwark Allen: will be long time till that happens
[13:28] Kime Babenco: Maybe in a 1000 years , or maybe ..... never
[13:28] Debbie Dee (framdor): as for living on mars - what a poor substitute for earth.
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): they are investigating ways to launch to mars from another planet
[13:28] herman Bergson: indeed Qwark....
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we will see
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well maybe WE wont see but someone will
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): LOL
[13:29] Qwark Allen: more easy will be going to live in the moon
[13:29] Qwark Allen: °͜° l ☺ ☻ ☺ l °͜°
[13:29] Qwark Allen: lol
[13:29] herman Bergson: But what is more important at the moment is that the free market...or say, money, corrupts moral values...
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): who would have imagined going to the moon in 1920
[13:29] Kime Babenco: But we are not talking about Mars, It's here on this planet now
[13:29] Debbie Dee (framdor): So the human epidemic will infest and kill other planets? The superior aliens will zap us first!
[13:29] herman Bergson: Jules Verne gemma
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): llol
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i mean non sci fi people
[13:30] Qwark Allen: eheheh maybe what you don`t know, is that they are there already
[13:30] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:30] Qwark Allen: and in the moon also ^^
[13:30] Kime Babenco: I mean some reasonable humans
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): and people thought Da Vinci was nuts
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): anyway the occupy movement needs to admit they need cohesion and a leader group to do anything
[13:31] herman Bergson: One way to approach problems is to refer to the future and what it will bring...
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[13:31] herman Bergson: the opposition to the absolute belief in the free market is still scattered....
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): they need to lobby
[13:32] Debbie Dee (framdor): Herman, we all need to work on the problem of inhumane outcomes. For example, don't buy the expensive ticket from ryan air next time. It starts with individual behaviour
[13:32] herman Bergson: But I am not talking about this issue because I am so enlightened..:-)
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh dear
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): at this point all air travel is horrible
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....and my behavior is an example of this ongoing process I think
[13:32] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): herding like cattle
[13:33] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes Herman. You're one of the good guys ;)
[13:33] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:33] Kime Babenco: We can solve problems like finding a Higgs part... costs billions of billions of money... But we can not guartee a safe life to everyone... And we will never be able to... ... But more than we attempt...
[13:34] Kime Babenco: I know if you help certain countries, they buy weapons with the money...
[13:34] herman Bergson: Well... I don't know...I just want to point at the fact that there are processis in society, politics and science which oppose the free market religion...
[13:34] herman Bergson: That seems the case indeed Kime :-)
[13:34] Debbie Dee (framdor): Kime, the people who make and sell the arms are the perpetrators.
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): They then lend the money to poor (african) governments to buy guns
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): usually with diplomatic approval
[13:36] herman Bergson: And here the main issue is making profit....
[13:36] Kime Babenco: Yes, , they only want money... they sell arms like a bread... and don't care if you eat it yourself of feed the porks with it...
[13:36] Qwark Allen:
[13:36] Qwark Allen: for your apreciation about the moon
[13:36] herman Bergson: Hello Amadeus :-)
[13:36] Multiphilosophy: Heya Amadeus
[13:36] Amadeus Semper (amadeussemper): Hello Herman :)
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): amadeus
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor) YAY CONGRATUATIONS!
[13:36] Qwark Allen: was trying to find a article i read about the moon , made by a NASA scientist
[13:36] Amadeus Semper (amadeussemper): Hi Multi :-)
[13:37] Amadeus Semper (amadeussemper): Hello Debbie, hello folks
[13:37] herman Bergson: NExt time I'll give you more examples how the market invades our moral values....
[13:37] herman Bergson: this was just a small example
[13:37] herman Bergson: But to mention some others....
[13:37] herman Bergson: IN certain schools kids are paid to read books...
[13:37] Kime Babenco: Yes... Herman... shopping addicts exists
[13:38] herman Bergson: because reading books is educational....
[13:38] herman Bergson: but the kids get paid to stimulate them....
[13:38] herman Bergson: thus reading books tend to become a paid job, in state of reading because it is a pleasure as such
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): Weird
[13:38] Kime Babenco: OK
[13:39] herman Bergson: Burce Springsteen asks US$95 for his live entrance fee...
[13:39] Kime Babenco: You must be kiding
[13:39] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): OH THAT IS CHEAP
[13:39] herman Bergson: He does this (which costs him money) because he wants everybody to have a chance to attend...
[13:39] Kime Babenco: 95 US $ ?
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): concerts are sometimes 125-200
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): depending on who is the artist
[13:40] Kime Babenco: For entrance to everyone... ok
[13:40] herman Bergson: I still think it is alot of money, but some other artist asked US$450 for the best places...(forgot the name)
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): me too
[13:40] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): is true
[13:41] herman Bergson: The reason is that the concerts have also a social value....a feast between artist and public...
[13:41] herman Bergson: but what happpens...
[13:41] Kime Babenco: Madonna asked in Rio and Sao Paulo 600 R$ for nice place
[13:42] herman Bergson: people who aren't interested in this social value at all buy those tickets and sell them on th eblack market for twice as much or more
[13:42] Kime Babenco: is about 250 US$
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh lol
[13:42] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): big football games resold for maybe 1000 or more
[13:42] herman Bergson: Same thing happens with the free theater performances in Central PArk....
[13:42] Kime Babenco: Depeche Mode cancelled all trips in Brasil
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): In south africa - there are often forged tickets sold outside.
[13:43] Kime Babenco: In 2010
[13:43] Kime Babenco: I won a trip to a show of them
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:44] herman Bergson: so...what I mean to say is that what initially was dominated by non commercial values like joy, social bonding etc. are taken over by the market , money and making profits
[13:44] herman Bergson: Like in near future you can buy friendship.....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: no nice development for sure
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): The moral erosion of the free market at work.
[13:45] Kime Babenco: How matter how you turn it... everything is commercial...
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes Debbie....and you'll hear more about this from me in next lectures...
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: everyone just want your money and not you, yourself have no value today just your wallet
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: thats sad
[13:45] Kime Babenco: Maybe not in the older countries like USSR or while we had a Military Regimn
[13:45] herman Bergson: And that is a sad observation Kime....
[13:46] Kime Babenco: It's a sad observation , but I guess not far from truth
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): We see the problem clearly, but there is no solution apparent.
[13:47] herman Bergson: We'll see Kime...we'll see....maybe we'll conclude at the end that with money you can not buy everything
[13:47] herman Bergson: and that there are values in live which are more valuable than what money can buy
[13:47] Kime Babenco: OK... see you Herman
[13:47] herman Bergson: Smiles
[13:47] herman Bergson: ok KIme :-)
[13:47] Kime Babenco: Be sure ;-)
[13:48] herman Bergson: Maybe I succeed in making my point....
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): perhaps
[13:48] herman Bergson: You can not buy hope ^_^
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: no
[13:48] Kime Babenco: Lol
[13:48] herman Bergson: You've got it or not :-))
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: and u cant buy friends cause then they are no friends, just after your money
[13:49] Kime Babenco: Whithout i hope is really sad
[13:49] Kime Babenco: So let's avoid that
[13:49] herman Bergson: I will Kime...
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Money can't buy a return of the missing fish in the ocean
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Money can't buy clean air
[13:49] herman Bergson: so thank you all for your participation and I hope to see you all again next Tuesday ^_^
[13:50] Qwark Allen: or a clean of the oceans from the radioactivity released by fukushima
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thank you Herman - thought provoking as usual
[13:50] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:50] Multiphilosophy: If you impose taxes on air and sea polluting factories or give them a rebate on tax for cleanliness, I guess money can buy that in a sense.
[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): we don't want to go
[13:50] herman Bergson: laughs...
[13:50] herman Bergson: you don't need to Debbie ^_^
[13:51] herman Bergson: It only allows me to go, if I like to ^_^
[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): goody.

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