The Political Metaphysics of Stupidity
Consider the intelligence of the average American. Then consider the fact
that half of them aren’t even that smart.
—Mark Twain @davidgraeber @financialeyes @JoeBlob20 pic.twitter.com/QaNmwc08bs
— GrubStreetJournal (@GrubStreetJorno) March 11, 2020
David Graeber on Value and Values fetishism. “value and values, fetishism” “At this point on can return to the question of value versus values; that is, economic price-mechanisms versus the kind of “conceptions of the desirable” described by Kluckhohn: honor, purity, beauty, and the like. I’ve already noted that the latter tend to take on importance either in societies without a commercial market (e.g., the Kayapo) or, as in ours, in those contexts (church, home, museum. . .) relatively insulated from it. According to Turner (1984:56-58), both really are refractions of the same thing; to understand the differences, one has first of all to consider what they are being refracted through. That is, one has to consider the nature of the media through which social value is realized. The key question is the degree to which value can, as it were, be “stored”. Here money represents one logical extreme. Money is a durable physical object that can be stored, moved about, kept on reserve, taken from one context to another.31 At the other extreme, one has performances like chiefly chanting, the deferential behavior of subordinates, and so on. A performance is obviously not something that can be stored and “consumed” later on. Hence, as he puts it, there can be no distinction here between the spheres of circulation, and realization. Both have to happen in the same place.” This is a quite brilliant essay/book from 2005 starting with an analysis of why Kerry Lost to Bush in 2005. https://web.archive.org/web/20051013071527/http://www.commoner.org.uk/10graeber.pdf The Political Metaphysics of Stupidity Consider the intelligence of the average American. Then consider the fact that half of them aren’t even that smart. —Mark Twain As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. —H.L. Mencken Graeber is the Author of the CLassic Debt the first 5000 years.
Regarding Value destruction Tim Graebers piece in the Commoner is essential reading.
VALUE AT RISK, OIL PRICES CRUSHED – A SYSTEM ON TRIAL
In any moment of crisis, it’s easy to be pulled two ways, between the immediate and the fundamental. But it helps when, as now, we can recognise that both themes meet at the same point.
In this sense, “the 2020 Wuhan crisis” (or whatever it ends up being called) has acted as a catalyst for severe risks built into the system over a protracted period of mismanagement, incomprehension, self-interest, hubris and sheer folly.
Just so that you know what’s coming, this discussion is going to concentrate on two issues.
The first of these is the scope for value destruction in the current situation. Here I believe that the use of an independent benchmarking system – based on energy economics – provides an advantage over the monocular, ‘the economy is money’, way of looking at these things.
The main theme…
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