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Ayanda U'Thant Makhongwana
Worked at Integral Management Services
Attended University of Transkei
Lives in Queenstown
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You mentioned that we're going to need participatory social planning to save the environment. I'm wondering, doesn't decentralization of power also somehow conflict with trying to save the environment - I mean, that can't be done without some sort of central agreement, don't you think?

Well, first of all, agreements don't require centralized authority, certain kinds of agreements do. One's assumption, at least, is that decentralization of power will lead to decisions that reflect the interests of the entire population. The idea is that policies flowing from any kind of decision-making apparatus are going to tend to reflect the interests of the people involved in making the decisions - which certainly seems plausible. So if a decision is made by some centralized authority, it is going to represent the interests of the particular group which is in power. But if power is actually rooted in large parts of the population - if people can actually participate in social planning - then they will presumably do so in terms of their own interests, and you can expect the decisions to reflect those interests. Well, the interest of the general population is to preserve human life; the interest of corporations is to make profits - those are fundamentally different interests. . . .

[I]f you have participatory social planning, and people are trying to work things out in terms of their own interests, they are going to want to balance opportunities to work with quality of work, with type of energy available, with conditions of personal interaction, with the need to make sure your children survive, and so on and so forth. But those are all considerations that simply don't arise for corporate executives, they just are not a part of the agenda. . . . His job is to raise profit and market share, not to make sure that the environment survives, or that his workers lead decent lives. And those goals are simply in conflict.

Give us an example of what exactly you mean by social planning.

Well, right now we have to make big decisions about how to produce energy, for one thing - because if we continue to produce energy by combustion, the human race isn't going to survive very much longer. Alright, that decision requires social planning: it's not something that you can just decide on yourself. Like, you can decide to put a solar-energy something-or-other on your own house, but that doesn't really help. This is the kind of decision where it only works if it's done on a mass scale.

I thought you might have been referring to population control.

Yeah, population control is another issue where it doesn't matter if you do it, everybody has to do it. It's like traffic: I mean, you can't make driving a car survivable by driving well yourself; there has to be kind of a social contract involved, otherwise it won't work. Like, if there was no social contract involved in driving - everybody was just driving like a lethal weapon, going as fast as they can and forgetting all the traffic lights and everything else - you couldn't make that situation safe just by driving well yourself: it doesn't make much difference if you set out to drive safely if everybody else is driving lethal-weapon, right? The trouble is, that's the way that capitalism works. The nature of the system is that it's supposed to be driven by greed; no one's supposed to be concerned for anybody else, nobody's supposed to worry about the common good - those are not things that are supposed to motivate you, that's the principle of the system. The theory is that private vices lead to public benefits - that's what they teach you in economics departments. It's all total bullshit, of course, but that's what they teach you. And as long as the system works that way, yeah, it's going to self-destruct. What's more, capitalists have long understood this. So most government regulatory systems have in fact been strongly lobbied for by the industries themselves: industries want to be regulated, because they know that if they're not, they're going to destroy themselves in the unbridled competition. . . .

Look, as long as you have private control over the economy, it doesn't make any difference what forms you have, because they can't do anything. You could have political parties where everybody gets together and participates, and you make the programs, make things as participatory as you like - and it would still have only the most marginal effect on policy. And the reason is, power lies elsewhere.

So suppose all of us here convinced everybody in the country to vote for us for President, we got 98 percent of the vote and both Houses of Congress, and then we started to institute very badly needed social reforms that most of the population wants. Simply ask yourself, what would happen? . . . What you get is capital strike - investment capital flows out of the country, there's a lowering of investment, and the economy grinds to a halt.

That's the problem that Nicaragua has faced in the 1980s - and which it cannot overcome, in my view, it's just a hopeless problem. See, the Sandinistas have tried to run a mixed economy: they've tried to carry out social programs to benefit the population, but they've also had to appeal to the business community to prevent capital flight from destroying the place. So most public funds, to the extent there are any, go as a bribe to the wealthy, to try to keep them investing in the country. The only problem is, the wealthy would prefer not to invest unless they have political power: they'd rather see the society destroyed. So the wealthy take the bribes, and they send them to Swiss banks and to Miami banks - because from their perspective, the Sandinista government just has the wrong priorities. . . .

Well, the same thing would happen here if we ever had a popular reform candidate who actually achieved some formal level of power: there would be disinvestment, capital strike, a grinding down of the economy. And the reason is quite simple. In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that's where the decisions are made about what's produced, how much is produced, what's consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference - I don't want to say it's zero - but the differences are going to be very slight. . . .

Like, suppose Massachusetts were to increase business taxes. Most of the population is in favor of it, but you can predict what would happen. Business would run a public relations campaign - which is true, in fact, it's not lies - saying, "You raise taxes on business, you soak the rich, and you'll find that capital is going to flow elsewhere, and you're not going to have any jobs, you're not going to have anything." That's not the way they'd put it exactly, but that's what it would amount to: "Unless you make us happy you're not going to have anything, because we own the place; you live here, but we own the place." And in fact, that's basically the message that is presented, not in those words of course, whenever a reform measure does come along somewhere - they have a big propaganda campaign saying, it's going to hurt jobs, it's going to hurt investment, there's going to be a loss of business confidence, and so on. That's just a complicated way of saying, unless you keep business happy, the population isn't going to have anything.

What do you think about nationalization of industry as a means of allowing for this kind of large-scale social planning?

Well, it would depend on how it's done. If nationalization of industry puts production into the hands of a state bureaucracy or some sort of Leninist-style vanguard party, then you'd just have another system of exploitation, in my view. On the other hand, if nationalization of industry was based on actual popular control over industry - workers' control over factories, community control, with the groups maybe federated together and so on - then that would be a different story. That would be a very different story, in fact. That would be extending the democratic system to economic power, and unless that happens, political power is always going to remain a very limited phenomenon.

Noam Chomsky
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How about this..
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Please share - very nice infographic showing traits of Successful vs Non-successful people! What side are you on? If it's not on the left, perhaps it's time to make some changes in your life! +Earthworm Technologies 

#business #businesstips #success #successtips #health #healthyliving #wisdom #inspiration #inspirational #successful #successstory  
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Ayanda U'Thant Makhongwana originally shared:
 

M&G reported that "Cosatu would call for state ownership of all land in the country". Take away Capitalist and/or Communist spectacles in reading this. Replace them with the socio-cultural spectacles....mhmm...tough one...will cost South Africa dearly to postpone the debate any longer.
'
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ayta how u doing my fwnd
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Have him in circles
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You mentioned that we're going to need participatory social planning to save the environment. I'm wondering, doesn't decentralization of power also somehow conflict with trying to save the environment - I mean, that can't be done without some sort of central agreement, don't you think?

Well, first of all, agreements don't require centralized authority, certain kinds of agreements do. One's assumption, at least, is that decentralization of power will lead to decisions that reflect the interests of the entire population. The idea is that policies flowing from any kind of decision-making apparatus are going to tend to reflect the interests of the people involved in making the decisions - which certainly seems plausible. So if a decision is made by some centralized authority, it is going to represent the interests of the particular group which is in power. But if power is actually rooted in large parts of the population - if people can actually participate in social planning - then they will presumably do so in terms of their own interests, and you can expect the decisions to reflect those interests. Well, the interest of the general population is to preserve human life; the interest of corporations is to make profits - those are fundamentally different interests. . . .

[I]f you have participatory social planning, and people are trying to work things out in terms of their own interests, they are going to want to balance opportunities to work with quality of work, with type of energy available, with conditions of personal interaction, with the need to make sure your children survive, and so on and so forth. But those are all considerations that simply don't arise for corporate executives, they just are not a part of the agenda. . . . His job is to raise profit and market share, not to make sure that the environment survives, or that his workers lead decent lives. And those goals are simply in conflict.

Give us an example of what exactly you mean by social planning.

Well, right now we have to make big decisions about how to produce energy, for one thing - because if we continue to produce energy by combustion, the human race isn't going to survive very much longer. Alright, that decision requires social planning: it's not something that you can just decide on yourself. Like, you can decide to put a solar-energy something-or-other on your own house, but that doesn't really help. This is the kind of decision where it only works if it's done on a mass scale.

I thought you might have been referring to population control.

Yeah, population control is another issue where it doesn't matter if you do it, everybody has to do it. It's like traffic: I mean, you can't make driving a car survivable by driving well yourself; there has to be kind of a social contract involved, otherwise it won't work. Like, if there was no social contract involved in driving - everybody was just driving like a lethal weapon, going as fast as they can and forgetting all the traffic lights and everything else - you couldn't make that situation safe just by driving well yourself: it doesn't make much difference if you set out to drive safely if everybody else is driving lethal-weapon, right? The trouble is, that's the way that capitalism works. The nature of the system is that it's supposed to be driven by greed; no one's supposed to be concerned for anybody else, nobody's supposed to worry about the common good - those are not things that are supposed to motivate you, that's the principle of the system. The theory is that private vices lead to public benefits - that's what they teach you in economics departments. It's all total bullshit, of course, but that's what they teach you. And as long as the system works that way, yeah, it's going to self-destruct. What's more, capitalists have long understood this. So most government regulatory systems have in fact been strongly lobbied for by the industries themselves: industries want to be regulated, because they know that if they're not, they're going to destroy themselves in the unbridled competition. . . .

Look, as long as you have private control over the economy, it doesn't make any difference what forms you have, because they can't do anything. You could have political parties where everybody gets together and participates, and you make the programs, make things as participatory as you like - and it would still have only the most marginal effect on policy. And the reason is, power lies elsewhere.

So suppose all of us here convinced everybody in the country to vote for us for President, we got 98 percent of the vote and both Houses of Congress, and then we started to institute very badly needed social reforms that most of the population wants. Simply ask yourself, what would happen? . . . What you get is capital strike - investment capital flows out of the country, there's a lowering of investment, and the economy grinds to a halt.

That's the problem that Nicaragua has faced in the 1980s - and which it cannot overcome, in my view, it's just a hopeless problem. See, the Sandinistas have tried to run a mixed economy: they've tried to carry out social programs to benefit the population, but they've also had to appeal to the business community to prevent capital flight from destroying the place. So most public funds, to the extent there are any, go as a bribe to the wealthy, to try to keep them investing in the country. The only problem is, the wealthy would prefer not to invest unless they have political power: they'd rather see the society destroyed. So the wealthy take the bribes, and they send them to Swiss banks and to Miami banks - because from their perspective, the Sandinista government just has the wrong priorities. . . .

Well, the same thing would happen here if we ever had a popular reform candidate who actually achieved some formal level of power: there would be disinvestment, capital strike, a grinding down of the economy. And the reason is quite simple. In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that's where the decisions are made about what's produced, how much is produced, what's consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference - I don't want to say it's zero - but the differences are going to be very slight. . . .

Like, suppose Massachusetts were to increase business taxes. Most of the population is in favor of it, but you can predict what would happen. Business would run a public relations campaign - which is true, in fact, it's not lies - saying, "You raise taxes on business, you soak the rich, and you'll find that capital is going to flow elsewhere, and you're not going to have any jobs, you're not going to have anything." That's not the way they'd put it exactly, but that's what it would amount to: "Unless you make us happy you're not going to have anything, because we own the place; you live here, but we own the place." And in fact, that's basically the message that is presented, not in those words of course, whenever a reform measure does come along somewhere - they have a big propaganda campaign saying, it's going to hurt jobs, it's going to hurt investment, there's going to be a loss of business confidence, and so on. That's just a complicated way of saying, unless you keep business happy, the population isn't going to have anything.

What do you think about nationalization of industry as a means of allowing for this kind of large-scale social planning?

Well, it would depend on how it's done. If nationalization of industry puts production into the hands of a state bureaucracy or some sort of Leninist-style vanguard party, then you'd just have another system of exploitation, in my view. On the other hand, if nationalization of industry was based on actual popular control over industry - workers' control over factories, community control, with the groups maybe federated together and so on - then that would be a different story. That would be a very different story, in fact. That would be extending the democratic system to economic power, and unless that happens, political power is always going to remain a very limited phenomenon.

Noam Chomsky
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Renewable energy is plentiful and cheap, but not always available when it's needed most. Traditional batteries are improving, but often contain toxic chemicals that can harm the environment. The Gravity Battery concept aims to change that by storing excess energy as potential energy that can be released via gravity.
http://gravitybattery.info/
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Have him in circles
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