Participatory Socialism - Thomas Piketty

State of Illinois

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Nazi like having a select group.of government officials that have free reign to interrogate people and search their home without warrants? (Withen 100 miles of a boarder)



Keep going bud, you are doing great...
I just cannot express how much I love watching selective—extremely selective, that is—cynicism & skepticism.

And you even have handy buzzphrases ready to drop, too! Right after cynically questioning someone else’s intelligence, no less!

You crack me up, Whiskey.
 

WheresWaldorf

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Apr 29, 2022
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I just cannot express how much I love watching selective—extremely selective, that is—cynicism & skepticism.

And you even have handy buzzphrases ready to drop, too! Right after cynically questioning someone else’s intelligence, no less!

You crack me up, Whiskey.
That poster is a weird guy. Calling me a narcissist is the most ironic thing he has done today.
 
Mar 11, 2020
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I just cannot express how much I love watching selective—extremely selective, that is—cynicism & skepticism.

And you even have handy buzzphrases ready to drop, too! Right after cynically questioning someone else’s intelligence, no less!

You crack me up, Whiskey.
I saw your need to have a username on this board, I have a rough idea how much you love watching it.
 
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WheresWaldorf

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I said you had narcissistic ideology. Feel free to educate yourself on what that means in relation to your beliefs of being superior to "god".
Perhaps you should read up on ocd and its impact. Your 4 am posts show something is a cooking upstairs and we all know you don’t have a chef.
 
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Perhaps you should read up on ocd and its impact. Your 4 am posts show something is a cooking upstairs and we all know you don’t have a chef.
Are you attempting to suggest I have OCD because I posted this morning at 4 am? I have a new puppy and he gets up every 2 hours. You are strugglebus.
 
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I have a feeling our conversation may flounder on definitions.
What to you is an example of a ‘highly complex civilization’ that didn’t have money?
What do you consider money? Is it a universal medium of exchange, or only bits with the sovereign’s blessing upon it?
Coinage.

Most of the civilizations in meso America or South America did not have coinage to my knowledge, such as the Mayan civilization, which had up to 10 million people, And they had very highly complex societies with organized agriculture, amazing culture, learning, and you name it. I’m not an expert on this but I’m sure there are many others.
 
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Looks like the Aztecs had some thing like money.

 
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Incas did not use money. Also a huge complex economy and society.

Incas themselves numbered about 40k, but ruled over a huge territory on western coast of present day South America with 10 million people.

conservative estimates of the number of indigenous peoples in north central in South America who were killed in genocide from 1492 to 20th century totals over 175 million btw.


 
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Looks like the Aztecs had some thing like money.

Hoe money?

 
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Money arose to make civilization possible.
It simply isn’t possible without it.
You simply can’t coordinate the wants and needs of hundreds, thousands or millions on direct barter.

Sovereigns inject themselves into the process of minting money not because they’re needed, but because seigniorage is an easier way to take from the people than taxes.

By the way you linked to talk given by a guy at Stanford University in 1987, and there has been more research into and more hard evidence about ancient civilizations just in the last 20 years than the previous 200 combined because of new methods, particularly DNA sequencing, LIDAR etc.

See my above posts for examples of colossal civilizations that did not use money
 

seminole97

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Coinage.

None of the major civilizations in meso America or South America had coinage to my knowledge, such as the Mayan civilization, which had up to 10 million people, And they had very highly complex societies with organized agriculture, amazing culture, learning, and you name it. I’m not an expert on this but I’m sure there are many others.
I look at coinage as level of money, but not the alpha and omega of money.

Mayans (and Aztecs) used cacao beans for their currency prior to any coinage.

The introduction of coinage, and specifically the intrusion of sovereigns on the role of minting and granting themselves seigniorage, is an important distinction and development in money. But it wasn't the beginning of money. It was just a way for princes and politicians to take money from the public by 'clipping coins' instead of raising taxes.

But first, you need a broader appreciation of the economic concept 'money'. You're looking too narrowly and thus missing its very existence. Read below, and then actually listen to the lecture I linked early (instead of cooking up a reason to shoot the messenger, listen to his logic and examples and tell me where you find flaws). I'm interested in what questions would remain for you.

Money is the common denominator of all economic transactions. It is that commodity which serves as a medium of exchange, is universally acceptable to all participants in an exchange economy as payment for their goods or services, and can, therefore, be used as a standard of market value and as a store of value, i.e., as a means of saving.

The existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy. If men did not have some commodity of objective value which was generally acceptable as money, they would have to resort to primitive barter or be forced to live on self-sufficient farms and forgo the inestimable advantages of specialization. If men had no means to store value, i.e., to save, neither long-range planning nor exchange would be possible. What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily. First, the medium of exchange should be durable. In a primitive society of meager wealth, wheat might be sufficiently durable to serve as a medium, since all exchanges would occur only during and immediately after the harvest, leaving no value-surplus to store. But where store-of-value considerations are important, as they are in richer, more civilized societies, the medium of exchange must be a durable commodity, usually a metal. A metal is generally chosen because it is homogeneous and divisible: every unit is the same as every other and it can be blended or formed in any quantity. Precious jewels, for example, are neither homogeneous nor divisible. More important, the commodity chosen as a medium must be a luxury. Human desires for luxuries are unlimited and, therefore, luxury goods are always in demand and will always be acceptable. Wheat is a luxury in underfed civilizations, but not in a prosperous society. Cigarettes ordinarily would not serve as money, but they did in post-World War II Europe where they were considered a luxury. The term "luxury good" implies scarcity and high unit value. Having a high unit value, such a good is easily portable; for instance, an ounce of gold is worth a half-ton of pig iron.

In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value, will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale. Whether the single medium is gold, silver, seashells, cattle, or tobacco is optional, depending on the context and development of a given economy. In fact, all have been employed, at various times, as media of exchange. Even in the present century, two major commodities, gold and silver, have been used as international media of exchange, with gold becoming the predominant one. Gold, having both artistic and functional uses and being relatively scarce, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange. Since the beginning of World War I, it has been virtually the sole international standard of exchange. If all goods and services were to be paid for in gold, large payments would be difficult to execute and this would tend to limit the extent of a society's divisions of labor and specialization. Thus a logical extension of the creation of a medium of exchange is the development of a banking system and credit instruments (bank notes and deposits) which act as a substitute for, but are convertible into, gold.
 
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I look at coinage as level of money, but not the alpha and omega of money.

Mayans (and Aztecs) used cacao beans for their currency prior to any coinage.

The introduction of coinage, and specifically the intrusion of sovereigns on the role of minting and granting themselves seigniorage, is an important distinction and development in money. But it wasn't the beginning of money. It was just a way for princes and politicians to take money from the public by 'clipping coins' instead of raising taxes.

But first, you need a broader appreciation of the economic concept 'money'. You're looking too narrowly and thus missing its very existence. Read below, and then actually listen to the lecture I linked early (instead of cooking up a reason to shoot the messenger, listen to his logic and examples and tell me where you find flaws). I'm interested in what questions would remain for you.

Money is the common denominator of all economic transactions. It is that commodity which serves as a medium of exchange, is universally acceptable to all participants in an exchange economy as payment for their goods or services, and can, therefore, be used as a standard of market value and as a store of value, i.e., as a means of saving.

The existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy. If men did not have some commodity of objective value which was generally acceptable as money, they would have to resort to primitive barter or be forced to live on self-sufficient farms and forgo the inestimable advantages of specialization. If men had no means to store value, i.e., to save, neither long-range planning nor exchange would be possible. What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily. First, the medium of exchange should be durable. In a primitive society of meager wealth, wheat might be sufficiently durable to serve as a medium, since all exchanges would occur only during and immediately after the harvest, leaving no value-surplus to store. But where store-of-value considerations are important, as they are in richer, more civilized societies, the medium of exchange must be a durable commodity, usually a metal. A metal is generally chosen because it is homogeneous and divisible: every unit is the same as every other and it can be blended or formed in any quantity. Precious jewels, for example, are neither homogeneous nor divisible. More important, the commodity chosen as a medium must be a luxury. Human desires for luxuries are unlimited and, therefore, luxury goods are always in demand and will always be acceptable. Wheat is a luxury in underfed civilizations, but not in a prosperous society. Cigarettes ordinarily would not serve as money, but they did in post-World War II Europe where they were considered a luxury. The term "luxury good" implies scarcity and high unit value. Having a high unit value, such a good is easily portable; for instance, an ounce of gold is worth a half-ton of pig iron.

In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value, will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale. Whether the single medium is gold, silver, seashells, cattle, or tobacco is optional, depending on the context and development of a given economy. In fact, all have been employed, at various times, as media of exchange. Even in the present century, two major commodities, gold and silver, have been used as international media of exchange, with gold becoming the predominant one. Gold, having both artistic and functional uses and being relatively scarce, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange. Since the beginning of World War I, it has been virtually the sole international standard of exchange. If all goods and services were to be paid for in gold, large payments would be difficult to execute and this would tend to limit the extent of a society's divisions of labor and specialization. Thus a logical extension of the creation of a medium of exchange is the development of a banking system and credit instruments (bank notes and deposits) which act as a substitute for, but are convertible into, gold.
I understand what you’re saying and what you have summarized here, but from what I understand, most ancient civilizations based their economies on credit, and if they used some kind of unit of measure of that credit, whether it’s cacao beans or seashells, it was the credit arrangements, not the myth of physically bartering anything and exchanging physical goods, that is, as well as remains to this day, the basis of the economy. What is a bitcoin or unit of Ethereum or Dogecoin but basically a credit arrangement built on a Ponzi scheme?

One other fascinating point is that money itself is based on credit arrangements, and the bank of England was established because the king was basically forced by wealthy business interests to establish it, so that literally the business interests controlled the monarch.

Same as the US fed really.

so in reality it’s not a piece of paper or a coin representing something of actual value in the actual world, but a debt written out of nothing into existence, a claim of one party to “on“ another party, and not just owe.
 

seminole97

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I understand what you’re saying and what you have summarized here, but from what I understand, most ancient civilizations based their economies on credit, and if they used some kind of unit of measure of that credit, whether it’s cacao beans or seashells, it was the credit arrangements, not the myth of physically bartering anything and exchanging physical goods, that is, as well as remains to this day, the basis of the economy.

The 'unit of measure' is money. Whatever that commonly traded commodity is: beans, shells, or as civilization and metallurgy advanced more suitable commodities with even superior properties.

What do you want 'credit' for?
What do you do with it?
You want to exchange it for physical goods (or services).
Money represents goods and services available, which represent goods and services that have been produced. You can't have any 'credit' until you have had production (the collateral behind any credit). The credit is a claim on the pre-existing production in a natural economy.

It's only when the counterfeiter, or politician with a government created bank that will print money to buy any debt they issue, introduces 'credits' for which no prior production exists that the stealing starts.
Sovereigns have used violence to force producers to accept their script. That's what legal tender laws are about. History is full of that, but it isn't an indictment of the critical labor division concept money facilitates and enables civilization and wealth, it's an indictment of the thieving sovereigns and the methods they use to hide from many how they're taxing.

What is a bitcoin... but basically a credit arrangement built on a Ponzi scheme?
Let's stick with discussing bitcoin, because while the concept of blockchain underpins cryptocurrencies, not all cryptocurrencies operate under the same protocol (the principles/properties written into the software itself).

Bitcoin isn't a Ponzi, wherein the seller is guaranteeing future payments made not from investment proceeds, but the contributions of new participants. Bitcoin is simply a ledger, secured against 'double payment' attacks and sovereign authorities debasing the currency to grant themselves seigniorage. As a unit of measure it is preserved against 'authorities' deciding to debase it in order to preserve and advantage politically connected firms.

It's what Hayek imagined would come to be back in 1984:


“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.”

Same as the US fed really.

so in reality it’s not a piece of paper or a coin representing something of actual value in the actual world, but a debt written out of nothing into existence, a claim of one party to “on“ another party, and not just owe.
It's important to remember among the reasons the Constitution was founded was to remove the power of the States to print money, and to fix the value of the dollar in a specific weight of gold.
When the Fed was introduced they were careful to maintain the redeemability aspect or else the public would never have accepted it. It was generations later they abrogated the full faith and credit to redeem Federal Reserve notes for a specific weight of 'something of actual value in the actual world'.

HWwNKmP.png


You know when that happened, and how things have gone since.
 
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I’m too tired to respond to all of your points above, other than quickly that Hayek, whom I forced myself to read as a graduate student, strikes me as one of the most ideologically driven half thinkers some true believers still take seriously, like other ideologues who cherry picked evidence to back it up. He’s bashing government, but in reality, since the beginning of the capitalist system, so-called “government” has been completely beholden to the bank themselves, so bagels entire argument against “governmentis a strawman.

Imho, a great argument could be made that the government in Neoliberal capitalist systems is little more than a puppet and punching bag for the people actually in power, and those people are the people who own the banks.


In fact this is precisely the logic on which the Bank of England—the first successful modern central bank—was originally founded. In 1694, a consortium of English bankers made a loan of £1,200,000 to the king. In return they received a royal monopoly on the issuance of banknotes. What this meant in practice was they had the right to advance IOUs for a portion of the money the king now owed them to any inhabitant of the kingdom willing to borrow from them, or willing to deposit their own money in the bank—in effect, to circulate or "monetize" the newly created royal debt. This was a great deal for the bankers (they got to charge the king 8 percent annual interest for the original loan and simultaneously charge interest on the same money to the clients who borrowed it) , but it only worked as long as the original loan remained outstanding. To this day, this loan has never been paid back. It cannot be. If it ever were, the entire monetary system of Great Britain would cease to exist.
David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years
 
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To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century

One reason why it’s crucial to consider anthropological and historical scholarship like Graeber’s, Wengrow’s, and others.

most of economics is not just pseudoscience, it’s straight up bullshit based on ideology and all kinds of hocus-pocus because it has been captured and funded by corporate interests.
 

seminole97

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Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century

One reason why it’s crucial to consider anthropological and historical scholarship like Graeber’s, Wengrow’s, and others.

most of economics is not just pseudoscience, it’s straight up bullshit based on ideology and all kinds of hocus-pocus because it has been captured and funded by corporate interests.
Graeber is calling a tail and leg and saying a cow has five legs when he fails to recognize that commodities evolved as money to facilitate exchange and division of labor long before sovereigns put impressions on coins.
That is straight up bullshit.

How sovereigns misuse legal tender laws I’m sure we largely agree on.

The econometricians will always fail trying to treat economics as a science in the vein of physics and other measurable sciences. The reason for this is that valuations are not predetermined, but subjective, temporal and ever evolving. We all have different marginal utility for the next bowl of ice cream. And with new options tomorrow whose to say ice cream stays on everyone’s menu?
The reason econometricians are hopeless is the heart of the socialist calculation problem and why even the most well meaning communist society would radically fail to meet the public’s demands compared to the price information (profits being the price information that induces additional investment in high demand fields) and the ruthlessness of consumer choice In allocating resources and production.

Economics is a praxeological study. It is deduction through observation and logic, and human tastes are too unfixed to lend themselves to the repeatable experiments in the physical and chemical sciences.
 
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so in reality it’s not a piece of paper or a coin representing something of actual value in the actual world, but a debt written out of nothing into existence, a claim of one party to “on“ another party,
This is the number 1 takeaway from Graeber's book.

When you require taxes to be paid in your own currency, and when you pay your military in your own currency, you are most of the way to being a state.

And the reverse is also true. Allow taxes and other debts to be paid in currencies you don't control and you are taking a great risk. Think crypto. A few nations and states have experimented with accepting bitcoins. This is a really dangerous gambit.

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seminole97

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This is the number 1 takeaway from Graeber's book.

When you require taxes to be paid in your own currency, and when you pay your military in your own currency, you are most of the way to being a state.
What kind of state depends on what you do to the currency.
If you just print like crazy to pay off the military, and political supporters, and you enact legal tender laws and price controls to try and make it work you’ll find empty shelves like in Venezuela.

But just because the princes and later thieves realized they could pass legal tender laws and clip the coins to tax their public secretly, doesn’t mark the ‘beginning of money’.

That’s dumb. And if the notion that ancient forms of money weren’t money is the foundation of his thesis we’re on the shoals before getting out to sea.
 

seminole97

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And the reverse is also true. Allow taxes and other debts to be paid in currencies you don't control and you are taking a great risk. Think crypto. A few nations and states have experimented with accepting bitcoins. This is a really dangerous gambit.
The most dangerous idea is that the unit of money shouldn’t be fixed like any other weight or measure.

Imagine trying to build a skyscraper or a boat if the government changed the length of a foot or weight of a pound constantly during construction. Yet we expect the best economic planning to come from a process wherein the government randomly, but perpetually, debases the unit of account?

Prices matter. Fake prices (on interest or anything else) foster economic calculation errors and misapplication of value, leading to losses that would otherwise be avoided.
 

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