2016-04-01T18:12:45.151-07:00The book I've been working on for almost five years, The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Individuals and Networks, is now in print. Here's the page at Amazon.
2015-12-02T09:17:24.926-08:00Driving through the Boston Mountains for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to relate an old family story about that route while there's still someone alive to remember it.
2014-03-05T14:13:02.625-08:00[I use Grammarly's plagiarism check because I fuck up enough other stuff as it is.]
2013-12-13T21:49:22.180-08:00Jeff Graubart. AFFEERCE: A Business Plan to Save the United States and Then the World(Second draft -- 2013).[Disclaimer. This is a paid review. I was assured by Jeff Graubart that negative reviews were fine – he expected only honesty. And I received 40% of the payment up front, with the rest to come after writing the review.]Graubart's vision of a future society, like the whole of Gaul, is divided into three parts:We need free markets on steroids and we need universal entitlement on steroids. If you can’t see past what appears to be an absurd contradiction, then you haven’t put that together with the third thing that is essential for the survival of the planet: reproductive control: parents must pay for their child’s entitlements before they are allowed to give birth or adopt. These are outlined in the fundamental relations.For Graubart, these three basic features of his proposed society are a three-legged stool. Without all three of them, it won't stand. Remove any one, he warns, and the result will be barbarism. The first feature, the free market itself—the maximum possible degree of economic freedom—is a goal for Graubart in it's own right. But without a universal entitlement, a totally free and unregulated market will lead to barbarism through the concentration of capital, technological unemployment and mass impoverishment, and eventually class war and revolution. And without reproductive control, the universal entitlement will lead to an underclass breeding out of control for the sake of the additional entitlement money their kids will bring into the household, and eventually to mass impoverishment and social bankruptcy from overpopulation.I don't see either of these outcomes as necessary or inevitable absent his proposed remedy, and therefore for me the chain of logic by which the three parts of his agenda cohere into a whole is weak (as I will explain later in this review).Graubart explains the basic principles in more detail with the acronym AFFEERCE, with AF standing forAlternative Family, FE for Free Enterprise, E for (Universal) Entitlement, RC for Reproductive Control and E for Enlightenment.Alternative Family does not mean you have to run off and join a commune or have a 5-way sexual relationship. You have every right to structure your family on 1 man + 1 woman + children. Or you can choose to live alone....Free Enterprise means laissez-faire. It means government keeps its hands off business. It means no minimum wage and no inflation. It means no corporate income tax of any kind. It means the marketplace will determine if monopolies should form and the effectiveness of collusion. It also means no civil rights protection and no right to a job....Universal Entitlement – ...Entitlement is not based on need. A billionaire receives the same entitlement for food and housing as a pauper. Each person in a family of 50 receives the same dollaramount for food and housing as a person who lives alone.Personal entitlements include nutritious food, safe shelter, unlimited free education, and quality medical....Reproductive Control – Families must pay the present value for a lifetime of entitlements before they are allowed to adopt or raise a child. This is approximately $600,000 but it is tax free. However, this goal might not be met for a century or more. In the beginning, families might pay only half the cost of entitlement or $300,000 before being allowed to adopt or raise a child. Even this amount might be phased in over 100 or more years.... Regardless of cost, if the parents cannot pay, the child will be placed with a family that can afford the child....Enlightenment – In a free society, all religions, spiritualties, beliefs or lack thereof, are welcome. The AFFEERCE enlightenment is a reliance of the truths in nature following the deconstruction of postmodernism....The postmodern age will lead to the synthesis between objectivism and subjectivism; an age of the union of science with spirituali[...]
2013-07-29T15:30:27.462-07:00My sister and brother-in-law came up today to visit my mom in the hospital, and we got to talking afterward about our dad and his family.Amos Morgan Carson 1916-1979She remembered, back when she was young and living at home, my dad telling her that Mother Jones had earned the respect and love of miners by devoting her life to fighting alongside them for their rights, and for the work she did to help strikers in need. She doesn't remember what spurred the conversation now, or why he would have had such a strong impression of her, but the question has intrigued me for a long time.He was born in Hartman, Colorado in 1916. My paternal grandfather moved to the Missouri Ozarks in 1921 with all his children (six or eight -- I've lost track). He died sometime the late '20s, I think, when my dad was twelve, and his mother's second husband pressured her to get the older kids out of the house. So my dad spent most of his time boarding and working as a hired hand at neighboring farms until his mother and step-father made him feel so unwelcome he migrated down into Arkansas and eventually married my mother.I really don't know anything about my paternal grandfather, or what his life had been like before he wound up having a son in Colorado. He was fairly well-read, and passed along a love of books to my dad. My dad's moldering set of Shakespeare, since lost to mice and mildew and multiple changes of residence, was originally his father's.And thinking about the whole Mother Jones thing, it seems pretty likely he would have been working in mining or some other extractive industry in the Colorado of 1916. 1916 wasn't long after the Copper Wars had ended in Colorado, with the governor declaring martial law and mine workers affiliated with the I.W.W. and other unions (Big Bill Haywood's Western Federation of Miners was the original core of the Wobblies) fighting pitched battles against state militia.And looking back on it, my dad's side of the family were classic textbook examples of the sort of people who made up the Wobblies in the first two decades of the 20th century. Aside from immigrant workers in New England mill towns, the I.W.W. was made up mostly of itinerant mine. lumber and migrant farm workers in the Plains and Rockies. The Wobblies spread like a religion out West in the mining and logging camps, and in harvesting gangs. The kinds of labor described in Woody Guthrie's song "Hard Travelin'" will give you a good idea.As soon as they got old enough to leave home, all my dad's siblings wound up gravitating back West, spread out through the Rockies and Alaska.And there has always been an unusual strain of radicalism among them. His sister Isabel used to be a communist (during an extended visit in the 1950s, she and her husband raised eyebrows by having the Daily Worker or whatever it was called at the time delivered to my parents' address). His sister Ruth married a guy who'd been heavily involved in organizing the shipbuilder's union in the CIO on the West Coast in the '30s, and had been knocked unconscious fighting cops during an organizing strike.Unfortunately, everything now is entirely a matter for speculation. All my father's siblings are dead, and years ago when I asked the last surviving one, his younger brother John, he couldn't remember much about their father's life before he moved to the Ozarks. [...]
2012-11-01T14:21:33.996-07:00I just finished negotiating the bureaucracy at the Washington County Arkansas courthouse in order to get my mom an absentee ballot.
2012-08-03T13:24:39.918-07:00I've been remiss in updating my links for a long time, but you should check out Lillian Geddes' Mutualism Queensland blog. She's a mutualist writer in Australia.
2012-06-08T20:52:25.401-07:00I recently got some interesting information about a small business survey from Sander Daniels:
2012-01-13T12:13:50.730-08:00Center for a Stateless Society (c4SS) has switched to a new method of paying contributors. There's a Flattr button at the top of every column. So if you like what you're reading and you have a Flattr account, you can simply click the button and make a one-time payment of any size you like (even just a dollar) to support the writer.
2011-12-12T13:49:49.789-08:00Please call and email to protest the arrest of Joe Diaz, a PhD student at Emory University, who was brutally assaulted in the University Library by campus police, arrested, and held under degrading and punitive conditions. In the library he saw his diminutive friend Alice, surrounded by hulking uniformed officers standing over her as she sat peacefully on the floor. As you can see in the video, he stepped in in a non-confrontational manner, identified himself, and asked if his friend was OK. It immediately escalated into a violent confrontation, initiated by the police, who might have following the script of soldiers storming a living room in a house-to-house search of occupied Baghdad. The cop's behavior was that of an Alpha Male dog confronting someone who didn't roll over and show their belly fast enough.
2011-11-22T00:03:15.453-08:00(image) "One of the officers began to remove us physically without the use of weapons. And Lieutenant John Pike ordered them to stop, raising his pepper can and saying ... 'Leave them. I want to spray these kids.'"
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth...Lieutenant. John Pike
2011-11-15T00:51:54.731-08:00NYPD Whiteshirt Gestapo are raiding Zuccotti Park on orders from Bloomberg, evicting protestors, conducting mass arrests.
2011-11-10T23:57:13.633-08:00src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YKfwwlEcowk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420">
2011-11-03T00:18:00.664-07:00The ad next to this video was: "Earn a Bible Degree."
2011-10-28T19:55:38.305-07:00Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. Edited by Iain McKay (AK Press, 2011).
2011-10-06T19:31:49.956-07:00The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) just began its Fourth Quarter Fundraiser. It's a pretty big target, since it includes a rollover of all our shortfalls for the previous fundraisers.
2011-09-20T01:52:20.220-07:00At Unqualified Offerings, thoreau devotes a post to "an important point about organizing a bureaucratic organization." Most of my post will consist of the money quote from thoreau's original, inspired piece, and a digest of the debate that ensued in the comment thread. My development of the issues, which follows, is a minority of the whole thing. But I strongly recommend you read the first part in full, because it's one of the most intellectually engaging debates I've read in a long time.Thoreau, in the body of his post:If you make it costly to go through Official Channels, people will find ways to do things outside of Official Channels. Most of what they do will be harmless. However, some of it won’t be. By driving the activity underground you guarantee the following: 1) Harmful activities will not be spotted except through chance or when there’s An Incident. And we all know what bureaucracies do when there’s An Incident. 2) There will be no chance to work with people on making their activities safe, because they won’t come to you in advance. The only chance you’ll have to talk to them is when they get caught by chance (at which point they’ll be more focused on doing a better job of keeping secrets) or when there’s An Incident (at which point their main concern will be deflection of blame). 3) The institutional culture will develop an even greater disdain for Rules and even (in many cases) for Safety. Given the realities of how these things work out so frequently, disdain for Rules and even Safety (in most cases) is largely a healthy thing. However, to the extent that a bureaucrat actually values these things, that bureaucrat should try to make it so that doing things through Official Channels is cheaper than skipping Official Channels. That’s your only hope of getting people to actually respect these things. Well, there’s also fear, but fear isn’t respect. It’s mindless, panicked compliance, and it can fade over time, or motivate people to find even better evasive tactics. Another thought on when there’s An Incident: Besides all of the usual problems with incentives and information in large institutions, it occurs to me that size guarantees that the people responsible for Safety, Compliance, and related matters will be separated from the people on the ground doing whatever it is that the organization is allegedly there to do. Consequently, the person who enforces a ridiculous rule, or who makes you sit through a useless presentation full of statements that are at best insulting and at worst factually wrong, will not be having lunch with you. Often the local enforcers (especially people whose primary task is something other than Safety) are more reasonable than the distant enforcers because, frankly, they need to be. Yes, their access to local information leads to smarter decisions, and they have at least some sort of incentive to see that the job gets done (whereas the distant enforcers only care about Compliance). But they also can’t afford to piss everyone else off (too much) because they will be having lunch with everyone else. If they insult everyone else with a boring and factually wrong Powerpoint, they’ll be ostracized.This elicited an immediate response from Eli Rabett -- the first in the comment thread:Obviously you never had to clean up after a big one, like one where a) people get seriously hurt and b) the potential for more to get hurt and buildings to go blooey is not zero. Let Eli tell you a story about a physicist who thought he knew what he was doing, and was suc[...]
2011-09-19T22:58:16.186-07:00Lenin, in a marginal note in his copy of On War, enthusiastically endorsed Clausewitz's argument that wars were not started by aggressors who moved their armies across other countries' borders -- but by the governments of the invaded countries who decided to resist. See, the invading country would like nothing more than to occupy the other country without firing a shot. The war doesn't start until the invaded country starts fighting back.
2011-09-19T12:55:39.984-07:00Benita Matofska is raising funds for People Who Share at Buzzbnk. Here's her description of the project:
The People Who Share is both a movement and a social enterprise. We are a marketplace for the new ‘sharing sector’ (car sharing, skills exchange, upcycling, freecycling, swap trading, redistribution…). We’ll make sharing easy, proving that it’s cheap, green, social and fun! As campaigners, we’ll engage more and more people as "Collaborative Consumers".
Online, we are building a marketplace for people who want to share. Onland, we will provide services and experiences.
If I can raise £2,800 in 30 days, then I'm in the running to get an investment of £50K from Village Capital. Together with your support, this will enable me to take my idea forward. Please share with me, and together we can make a better world.
2011-09-17T23:46:00.171-07:00From now on, I'll link to most of my new publications online, etc., at my Twitter account: @KevinCarson1
2011-09-11T13:39:53.980-07:00Marcin Jakubowski of Factor e Farm had an anticipated $60k grant either delayed or fall through altogether (it's not clear which), and has an emergency fundraiser to raise $20k ASAP to keep plans for concurrently prototyping the entire Global Village Construction Set on track. $10k came from one generous contributor. Some $4500 of the remaining $10k has come in via ChipIn. If you can afford to help put them over the top and keep this project going, please consider doing so here.