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<nettime> NME Disconnects - Rabie & Dickinson
Nettime's Disconnected Digestion on Thu, 23 Oct 2003 17:08:46 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> NME Disconnects - Rabie & Dickinson

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   Re: <nettime> NME and Its Disconnects [Dickinson, Holmes]                       
     joseph rabie <joe {AT} overmydeadbody.org>                                           

   Re: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Disconnects                           
     Ian Dickson <ian {AT} iand.demon.co.uk>                                              


Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 11:00:38 +0200
From: joseph rabie <joe {AT} overmydeadbody.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> NME and Its Disconnects [Dickinson, Holmes]

>In my opinion the fundamental error of Marxist practice (as opposed to 
>theory) lies in your last paragraph. It always seems to (at best) a 
>smothering of dissent and debate, and at worst, Gulags.


I have to say, Ian, that I am always amazed, I almost admire, people 
like you with your blind optimism in the market, in the belief that it 
can fundamentally do no wrong, because supply and demand and the forces 
of competition push itinevitably towards "the greatest good". Corporate 
Capitalism does not have its Gulags, it kills softly. Ask the Koreans 
 dying of Leukemia, to whom Novartis refuses to drop prices on drugs 
that cost 10s of dollars a shot, and who use Intellectual Property to 
prevent the manufacture of generics. Ah, I forgot, profits are sacred, 
not people. Ask the millions of dying Africans, that quite simply do not 
represent a viable market for life saving drugs (but on occasion make 
good guinea pigs for testing drugs that only the rich will afford).



Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 09:35:13 +0100
From: Ian Dickson <ian {AT} iand.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: <nettime> New Media Education and Its Disconnects

In message <3F97065A.E0D5B816 {AT} fastermac.net>, David Patterson 
<cptanalog {AT} fastermac.net> writes
>Ian Dickson wrote:
>> If the system is bogus, how would you change it? It is not constructive
>> to cry foul unless you have a better idea.
>Had I the power, I would either equalize compensation across the board for all
>positive contributions to society's well-being. Or, at least level things off a
>bit where those who contribute the most: teachers, police, trash collectors,
>those who truly serve society instead of their own selfish interests, are well
>compensated. It is ridiculous to me to even consider keeping our 
>present system,
>where avarice appears to be a virtue. We might as well replace "e 
>pluribus unim"
>with "I got mine" as our national motto.
I have no problem with that. The question is how you do it.

The obvious route would be to raise taxes such that the rich pay more, 
plus perhaps creating automatic limiters re income for boards of public 

However in my book this is about changing the details rather than the 
system fundamentally. Even at the most extreme you'd probably only move 
the USA to a Swedish type model.

And of course you have all the tools you need - the USA is still 
democratic enough for a bunch of like minded people to start a party and 
win. (It wouldn't be easy, but then you have to start from where you 
are. Certainly the Dean campaign does seem to indicate that a 
significant proportion of the electorate are ready for such change).
>> 2) The maligned Stockholder is probably an ordinary retired person.
>My own mother belongs in that category. However, I speak of the modern
>speculators who desire great riches with no personal toil or risk. I 
>speak of the
>executives who set up a system whereby they can exercise options to buy 
>stock at
>ridiculously low prices regardless of the stock's current value.

This is the problem of managerial capture of wealth, an issue spotted by 
Adam Smith, and something that needs to be fixed. You are at one with 
The Economist here:-)

But it's a matter of the rules, not the system fundamentals.

Here in the UK it has not been possible for managers to grab as much as 
in the US because, for example (IIRC), any loan made by a company to an 
employee is taxable to the full extent that it is made below market 
rates, and in some cases loans are illegal. In reality the first clause 
effectively means that employee loans are pretty unusual. Also options 
have always had to be expensed. (I'm not sure of the details of how, and 
they still get used, but in a way that is transparent to the market).

But they are still starting to get too much. Hence the recent (Wellcom? 
Glaxo? CEO package rejection. A package that would have been nodded 
through in the US).
>> 3) American consumers, for some completely selfish reason, seem to like
>> to buy cheap, high quality, goods made overseas.
>Unfortunately, it is growing nearly impossible to find consumer goods in this
>country which are not made in the Far East under near-slave conditions. We can
>outlaw such demonic practices for our own people, but morals fly away when it's
>someone else's child who slaves for 14 hours.

But whose morals are flying away? The answer is those of the American 
people. The cure for this is to seek to persuade them NOT to buy goods 
that are made in this way.

But I have a hard question for you. What should the developing countries 
do to get themselves to the level where, like the US and UK and other 
lucky countries, they can dispense with bad working conditions and pay 
good rates?

They can't simply say "hey presto" because of a little issue known as 
tariff barriers and other impediments to trade. (Eg the US subsidies to 
it's cotton growers condemn millions to poverty.)
>"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired 
>signifies, in
>the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are
>cold and are not clothed."
>Dwight D. Einsenhower
Bright man, that Einsenhower, but of course it didn't stop him making 
guns etc because he believed that if he didn't, one Mr Joe Stalin would 
steal even more from those who hunger, and probably increase the number 
of those who hunger. He did his best in the world in which he found 

- -- 
ian dickson                                  www.commkit.com
phone +44 (0) 1452 862637                    fax +44 (0) 1452 862670
PO Box 240, Gloucester, GL3 4YE, England

           "for building communities that work"


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