Monday, February 15, 2021

902: The Basics of Economics.....

 If I use a simplified description of our situation, then it sounds like this. The starting point is that we have needs. We need food, clothing, a house, etc.


On the other hand, there are people who generate or produce, what we need. So, society is a constant flow of demand and supply.


To bring those two together we need some organization. Adam Smith was one of the first to describe the needed organization.


It has resulted in the neoliberalism of today, based on the dogma of Milton Friedman, that the only goal of a company is to maximize profits.


In other words, we have organized society in such a way, that the most obvious and common thing to do is to produce good and make people pay (much) more for it than its production costs.


This surplus we have to pay we call profits. And the goal of a company is to make us pay as much as possible. The only drawback is that there is competition in the market. That, fortunately, sets limits.


It is a simple as that: making money as much as possible. That we ruin our environment, deplete our resources, etc. is subordinated to this principle.


In the news, I heard, that Shell, the biggest oil company in the Netherlands, will continue drilling and producing fossil fuels so that it can increase the dividend payout.


That is how we have organized our society. We have based it on the belief, that the only way to survive is to make as much money as possible,


which has resulted in a 10% of the world population, which owns more than the other 90% together. I may be mistaken about the percentages, but only a little.


All neoliberals say that this way of organizing society is really the outcome of history. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, communist countries collapsed, even China has adopted the capitalist strategy.


But this drive for endless and limitless economic growth is irrational. There is a more rational way to organize our society and the relation between supply and demand.


In the previous lecture, I introduced the alternative: the co-operative society. That idea isn't new, not the invention of some bright Oxford economist.


Let me introduce you to Johannes Althusius, who lived from 1557 to 1638 in Germany. He was a political theorist who was the intellectual father of modern federalism and an advocate of popular sovereignty.


Althusius elaborated five principal types of association, each a combination of the preceding: the family, the voluntary corporation, the local community, the province, and lastly the state. 


A series of social contracts sustains the system as new groups are brought into existence. Each of his groups has an independent existence. 


Through his discussion of the complex relations between levels and the different types of associational arrangements, he developed a comprehensive theory of federalism 


as the means of achieving national unity, in which sovereignty, resting in the people through their groups, cannot be transferred because it is essential to the being of the political community.


The most important idea is that sovereignty rests in the people. And that is one of the basic principles of a co-operative production company:


the profits it generates stays in the hands of those who generate it to ensure them a decent living and the continuation of the company.


To be continued......


Thank you for your attention again.


The Discussion


[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I cant see that working well in the population of the world I'm Sorry! to say

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..

[13:21] herman Bergson: It already is working in many places Gemma

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): sounds a  lot like communism

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): where ?

[13:22] CB Axel: It used to be that businesses would make something or provide a service that people wanted.

[13:22] herman Bergson: We have cooperative banks in the companies

[13:22] CB Axel: If it was good enough, they would make a profit.

[13:22] CB Axel: But now businesses are only interested in profit.

[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): so do we

[13:23] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): mutuals

[13:23] CB Axel: They sell us garbage and hope we pay for it.

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): with banks we see this clearly

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): before banks were for the people but now the people are for the banks

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): to suck out from

[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes CB....ut at the moment we live in a money culture.....the world of the financial markets....the hedgefunds...totally superfluous

[13:24] herman Bergson: And there is a difference between Europe and the US......

[13:24] herman Bergson: Any form of (social) sharing you mention in the US is qualified as potential communism or socialism, :-)

[13:25] herman Bergson: Not so in Europe....

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right it does sorry to say

[13:25] herman Bergson: Therefore we have universal healthcare in many countries

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why are the us people so afraid of socialism?

[13:25] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): makes so much sense

[13:26] herman Bergson: Good question Beertje

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): money

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): only the rich shall prosper!

[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): is the mantra there

[13:26] herman Bergson: I think it is mainly caused by the fact that the US is a meritocracy...

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the idea that  people should pay for insurance

[13:26] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): private insurance

[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not be handed it

[13:27] herman Bergson: That only get what you deserve by your efforts...

[13:27] oola Neruda: I think that Americans do not have any idea what Socialism really is.... they equate it with communism

[13:27] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I agree oola

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): exactly

[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes oola

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): crazy

[13:27] herman Bergson: that is as clear as water oola ^_^

[13:27] oola Neruda: not to them

[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): many conservatives all all democrats communists

[13:28] CB Axel: I think Herman makes a very good point re: meritocracy.

[13:28] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.

[13:28] herman Bergson: America is a country that adores the philosophy of winners and losers...

[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hear it all the time on radio talk shows

[13:28] herman Bergson: you are either one...a winner or a loser

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): losers and communists

[13:29] herman Bergson: You are a winner because of your efforts zeal and talents...

[13:29] herman Bergson: you are a loser because you are to dumb and lazy to  put effort in something

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and poor = looser and the losers dont deserve to survive and its their own fault not born with that silver spoon

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): (or inheritance)

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): really sad

[13:30] herman Bergson: This is why the voter base of trump is mainly low educated.....

[13:30] oola Neruda: and angry

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well they are idiots thats for sure

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i used to think SL too herman

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least many of them

[13:30] oola Neruda: feel they do not have an equal chance

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like those riot rashers

[13:30] herman Bergson: In fact Trump is a loser...a lot of his enterprises went bankrupt...but he has inherited enough money to survive

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): many lawyers, doctors etc follow him i have found out

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): educated people

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): weird

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its a cement mixer and its all a mess

[13:31] herman Bergson: Yet he appeals to the losers, I'd say Gemma

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like my 3D prints are at the moment

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a stringy mess

[13:31] oola Neruda: he cheats the people who he hires... does not pay them and takes them to court if they try to get him to pay

[13:31] CB Axel: I'm pretty sure that in private Trump would call the majority of his followers losers.

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right oola

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): more than once ll

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Trump uses people for his own gain

[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh yes

[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): always has

[13:32] CB Axel: That's why I've always said that he should have been thrown in jail decades ago.

[13:32] herman Bergson: This basic attitude makes it difficult for Americans to think of cooperative organization

[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep

[13:33] CB Axel nods

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or into the asylum  and welding the doors shut

[13:33] oola Neruda: he was taking over a building in chicago with period artwork as part of the facade.... the Art Institute asked if they could remove it for the museum.... he said no and destroyed the sculpturs so that nobody could share them

[13:33] herman Bergson: Europe this way of you see in Althusius has a long tradition....

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that is terrible Oola

[13:34] oola Neruda: and ignorant

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): eeeeeeee ok

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): extension of his ignorance

[13:36] oola Neruda: yes

[13:36] herman Bergson: Next time I'll present some figures to show that cooperative organizations aren't as rare as one would believe

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): even in the US?

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok and examples of countries where it works

[13:36] herman Bergson: CB mentioned her hardware store last time Beertje :-)

[13:36] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Unions here will make a comeback I think now

[13:37] CB Axel: I looked up cooperatives in the US. More than I expected.

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes there are

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ah yes I remember

[13:37] CB Axel: Yes. Ace Hardware stores are cooperatives.

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Starbucks is not bad either

[13:37] herman Bergson: You see....:-)

[13:37] CB Axel: Gemma, I'm watching to see how the union vote at Amazon in Alabama goes.

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): many credit unions

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): financial help

[13:38] CB Axel: Yes. I belong to a credit union.

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): me too

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i dont use it  a lot

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but keep it

[13:39] herman Bergson: You see.....there is hope....things will change .....but it takes time

[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): When is the vote cb?

[13:39] CB Axel: Next month some time.

[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i thought so

[13:39] CB Axel: I'm sure it will be in the news.

[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes

[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is a credit union?

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is like a bank

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is a coop

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): you can save , invest, borrow etc

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): it is a cooperative

[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa ok another name for it

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): members own them

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): usually groups like teachers

[13:41] herman Bergson: well...what did I say.....even in the US the idea exists

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or mechanics

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): etc

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nurses

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): etc

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes they have for a long time

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): work like banks

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): but are co op

[13:42] herman Bergson: What we have free our selves from is this belief that making money, as much as possible, is the main goal in society

[13:42] oola Neruda: RIGHT

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): agree

[13:43] herman Bergson: Mankind has know it for long already....

[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there are also non profits

[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): here

[13:43] herman Bergson: in the Koran and Bible it is said that making money with money is immoral and not allowable

[[13:44] herman Bergson: It is THE doorway to greed

[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha so many Christians here believe money is a reward for good life

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that they got right i guess

[13:44] CB Axel: In the Bible it's said that the love of money is the root of all evil, but the Bible Trumpers in the US seem to have glossed over that part.

[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): Evangelicals

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the bible gets some things right

[13:44] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): some huge huge churches built on the  belief

[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): amazing

[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes I know Gemma....such an absurd way odf thinking.....

[13:45] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true

[13:45] herman Bergson: THAT is the terror of the meritocracy

[13:45] CB Axel: Yes, Herman. That's why Shylock had to work as a money lender. It was the only job Jews were allowed to do.

[13:45] CB Axel: I guess because they were already going to hell. :(

[13:45] herman Bergson: Michael Sandel wrote a book about it..."The Terror of Meritocracy"

[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): wasn't Jesus a jewish man? he had to go to hell?

[13:47] CB Axel: I guess he was considered a convert, Beertje. :)

[13:47] herman Bergson: Well...before we all go to hell, I'd like to wish you a pleasant weekend...:-)

[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): wellhe started a new section of that religion that is catholicism today beertje

[13:47] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))

[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): strange

[13:47] CB Axel: Happy weekend, everyone.

[13:48] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Thank you Herman and class!

[13:48] herman Bergson: We almost saved the world today....:-)

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yay

[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): see you soon and dont miss the mardi gras parade

[13:48] CB Axel: Dankjewel, Herman.

[13:48] herman Bergson: So time to rest and dismiss class :-))

[13:48] bergfrau Apfelbaum: happy weekend:-)

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:48] CB Axel: I think I got that right this time. :D

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes :)))

[13:48] herman Bergson: Very good did!

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): CB leert Nederlands

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): did i give you the landmark for the parade??

[13:48] CB Axel: See you Thursday. The trial should be over by then.

[13:48] CB Axel: Yay

[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa cu then

3:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

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