Thursday, June 15, 2006


    Here's a bunch of different things I wanted to say, most of which don't justify their own post. So here we go.

  • Thanks to Foosh from Wustlog for bringing Google Analytics to my attention. It can give you some pretty cool information about the visitors who come to your site. You have to request to be invited, but I was accepted just 2 or 3 days later.

  • For those of you who might have wondered how the YearlyKos meeting in Las Vegas went, LBBP from Skeptic Rant has a first-hand account here. Also, I've heard that the GOP is going to use euthanasia as one of its focuses for the 2006 elections. And I'm glad. This affects me so much more than war or the economy. And it's about damn time I lost the right to end my own life. Only our Leader can make decisions that end lives. Anyhow, Fair Enough has a post about the issue here.

  • I just watched Ann Coulter on Jay Leno tonight, hoping that something interesting would be said by Carlin, who was also on the show. He didn't say anything of interest. But I got a little pissed watching it. For one Coulter is a fucking psycho. And actually listening to her talk made me realize that she's even more of a pyscho than I had previously thought, which is hard to do. But I basically knew that beforehand. What bothered me was the applause that she received after she would state her disgusting and pathetic point of views. She got booed a little, but the applause was much louder. It was just sickening.

  • In the comments of my last post there was some discussion about alternative economic systems, namely Parecon (Participatory Economics). Personally I don't know that much about Parecon, and from the little reading I've done of it there are some issues that I don't agree with. However, Parecon has also gotten some good reviews from people whose opinions I respect, and I feel that it would be beneficial to look into the issue more. Most notable of these is Chomsky, who says of Parecon
    A great many activists and concerned people ask, quite rightly, what alternative form of social organization can be imagined that might overcome the grave flaws -- often real crimes -- of contemporary society in more far-reaching ways than short-term reform. Parecon is the most serious effort I know to provide a very detailed possible answer to some of these questions, crucial ones, based on serious thought and careful analysis

         Even if its not perfect (which is certain), it may easily be superior to capitalism and worthy of progress towards. And the flaws it does have, well, by learning about them perhaps we could improve on the ideas.

        Anyhow, I plan on learning about Parecon in my free time for at least the rest of the summer. What I thought would be nice is if others wanted to learn more about this as well, defend it, or simply critique it, we could structure our discussions in a "reading course" type of way. I basically imagine selecting an article or paper discussing the concepts of Parecon, of which there are many available (especially on Znet), and then someone would write up their opinion on the particular concept of Parecon that the article was about and people would discuss it. A week later (the exact time depending on how many participants we had) it would be someone else's turn.

        Would anyone be interested in this?

    John K. Fitzpatrick said...

    Looking forward to a discussion. I've been studying ParEcon for a number of years, I have done a seminar on it, had a couple book discussions, and even a 2-part TV show (the audio portion is here):

    It seems the hardest part for most folks is the idea of generating prices without markets or central authority.

    As discussion here goes, watch out for libertarian-Randian-marketeers who seem to swamp discussion, very much like evangelicals.

    - John

    Anonymous said...

    I would like to participate. (har har). I have been interested in Parecon for a while, but have yet to read the books. I studied a little of the theory on Wikipedia, and hope to order this book:

    Right now I'm hacking through volume 2 of Marxist Economic Theory:
    which I have found to be very informative so far.

    I have also been interested in this book:
    Has anyone read it? Know what's it is like? Could the ideas expressed within have some bearing on parecon? I would like to think so, but must defer to those who may know more about it.


    John K. Fitzpatrick said...

    re: game theory

    reviewer Harald W. Stieber (Vienna, Austria) said: "By comparison of the ethical properties of allocations reached via competitive markets and those reached through bargaining in the original position he tries to identify a demarcation line for the decentralized aggregation of individual preferences."

    Parecon doesn't refer people to consider Rawls' Original Position, but it does aggregate preferences.

    Curious if the author views games as 'rational choice' or 'group adaptation' or what....

    a book I can't afford anyway. - John

    LBBP said...

    I am in fact trying to work my way through Ken Binmore's Game Theory and The Social Contract - Volume I

    It's very interesting, but a very hard read. Man, I wish there were a Cliff Notes version...

    What little I have read so far does ring true to me. It is very heavily influenced by Rawls. In fact the first of four major sections of the book is devoted to comparing the author's views to those of Rawls. It has been my hope to incorporate portions of this into my over all philosophy of politics and economics. So, as it applies, and as I am able to glean bits of information that I actually understand, I would be happy to through them into the mix.

    LBBP said...

    Oh, and by the way, yeah, Coulter is a fucked up scary bitch. And, that's being nice.

    Anonymous said...

    Re: Parecon: I wound be interested in reading people's opinions and discussions about this but I am not sure what if anything I will be able to contribute personally. I feel that I know close to nothing about economics, at least not enough to offer much of a point of view. Perhaps, the fact that I lived in Soviet Union for the first half of my life will be of some use in this discussion, but I don't know...

    issek said...

    She got booed a little, but the applause was much louder. It was just sickening.
    I know that sickening feeling... it's hiding around every corner in OK