Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Joseph Schumpeter Revisited

" ... if Keynes was the most important economist of the 20th century, then Schumpeter may well be the most important of the 21st ... "

" ... In a later book, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Schumpeter wrote that the traditional view of competition must be abandoned. "Economists," he said, "are at long last emerging from the stage in which price competition was all they saw. ... However, it is still competition within a rigid pattern of invariant conditions, methods of production and forms of industrial organization ... that ... monopolizes attention. But in capitalist reality as distinguished from its textbook picture, it is not that kind of competition which counts but the competition from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization — competition which commands a decisive cost or quality advantage and which strikes not at the margins of the profits and the outputs of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives."

Entrepreneurs innovate new ways of manipulating nature, and new ways of assembling and coordinating people. It is important to stress that a Schumpeterian entrepreneur is not an inventor, but an innovator. The innovator shows that a product, a process, or a mode of organization can be efficient and profitable, and that elevates the entire economy. But it also destroys those organizations and people who suddenly find their technologies and routines outmoded and unprofitable. There is, Schumpeter was certain, no way of avoiding this: Capitalism cannot progress without creating short-term losers alongside its short- and long-term winners: "Without innovations, no entrepreneurs; without entrepreneurial achievement, no capitalist ... propulsion. The atmosphere of industrial revolutions ... is the only one in which capitalism can survive."

Schumpeter's ideas lay waste to economists' smooth graphs of long-run growth trends and economic evolution. Growth produces progress and wealth, but in unforeseeable ways and in discrete lumps that create many small winners (for example, the people who can now buy their shirts at Wal-Mart for $8.99 as opposed to $12.99 at its less-efficient competitors), a few huge winners (for example, the Walton family of Bentonville, Ark.), and notable substantial losers (the Main Street merchants of the Mississippi Valley, the Great Plains, and the Sun Belt).

Schumpeter, like his contemporary Karl Polanyi, feared for the long-term survival of capitalism. Bureaucrats and ideologues threatened by creative destruction would resist it. The challenge for the government in managing the market thus becomes not just the Adam Smithian task of securing property rights, enforcing contracts, and providing civil order, but also the tremendously difficult job of managing the creative destruction so that capitalism does not undermine and destroy itself for essentially political reasons. Schumpeter did not think the beast could be managed, because democracy is hostile to great inequalities, and socialism even more so.

Capitalism, however, inevitably generates these mammoth inequalities through creative destruction. The combinations of market economies and political democracies that we see today in the richest countries in the world were, Schumpeter thought, unlikely to be stable. No country that wanted to see rapid economic growth could afford to remain a political democracy for long.

He did not think governments could maintain enough social insurance to counter the destructive part of capitalism without strangling the sources of rapid growth. But why Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy places so much blame on "democracy" is unclear to me: Oligarchs fear change at least as much as democratic electorates do. ... "

By J. BRADFORD DELONG

http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i15/15b00801.htm

the 8th continent

"..Located in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii and measuring in at roughly twice the size of Texas, this elusive mass is home to hundreds of species of marine life and is constantly expanding. It has tripled in size since the middle of the 1990s and could grow tenfold in the next decade.

Although no official title has been given to the mass yet, a popular label thus far has been "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

As suggested by the name, the island is almost entirely comprises human-made trash. It currently weighs approximately 3.5 million tons with a concentration of 3.34 million pieces of garbage per square kilometer, 80 per cent of which is plastic.

Due to the Patch's location in the North Pacific Gyre, its growth is guaranteed to continue as this Africa-sized section of ocean spins in a vortex that effectively traps flotsam..."

 

http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/11/21/PacificGarbagePatch/

 

levitation within reach

: ... Levitation has been elevated from being pure science fiction to science fact, according to a study reported today by physicists.

In earlier work the same team of theoretical physicists showed that invisibility cloaks are feasible.

Now, in another report that sounds like it comes out of the pages of a Harry Potter book, the University of St Andrews team has created an 'incredible levitation effects’ by engineering the force of nature which normally causes objects to stick together.

Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing this pheneomenon, known as the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts.

Their discovery could ultimately lead to frictionless micro-machines with moving parts that levitate But they say that, in principle at least, the same effect could be used to levitate bigger objects too, even a person. ... "

~ Read more... ~

 

'Yabba Dabble Doo: How Aleister Crowley Introduced the Iconic Gray Alien'

" ... Then, there is the interdimensional theory. Although this theory is rather another obvious deduction, and has been around in generic forms for a while, in his brilliant and epic book, Supernatural, Graham Hancock makes an almost inarguable case that the traditional, psychedelic plant-induced shamanic visions and experiences, fairy lore, and now modern abduction/alien scenarios stem from and share the same root, a kind of trance-induced, other channel of reality, in which these same gray-beings have won the starring roles.

What is even more intriguing is that within the story of what could be the very first modern, recorded appearance of this same entity, he is clearly described as an interdimensional being, with no pretenses of alien origins. In this story, there are other ideas that fit within Hancock's theory, such as the use of a meditative trance, drug induced, for purposeful contact (as in shamanism) with the otherworld.

In 1917-1919, the occultist Aleister Crowley was living on the Central Park West area in New York City, with what would be one of his many female companions, Roddie Minor. During a hashish and opium induced trance, Ms. Minor described to Crowley her rich visions. It is important to note here, that many of the narratives and articles which tell of the ensuing experiences, referred to as The Amalantrah Workings, are somewhat quick to dismiss Ms. Minor's visions. ... "

" ... with all this rich symbology within Minor's visions, it isn't surprising that Aleister Crowley took it seriously. He was quite experienced and actively engaged in exploring alternate and astral realms, and considered them, as do all the ancient shamanic cultures and many modern enthusiasts and researchers, to be "real." It is said he also recognized components of earlier "workings" (magickal practices) within her reports, so decided to conduct more formalized, regular sessions with her, culminating in what is known as The Amalantrah Working.

Amalantrah was a character within Minor's original visions, which became somewhat of an oracle channeled rather conversationally directly between Minor (and sometimes, others) and Crowley. Questions were asked and answers received, and much symbolic information gathered. From these sessions, Crowley drew a portrait of an entity which tangibly appeared, finally called "LAM."

Although there is a wealth of precise occult information concerning all the information gathered in the Amalantrah Working, the mythology and general narratives describing it generally follow the thought that Crowley opened up a magickal portal that allowed this entity LAM, others like him and their representational consciousness into the modern world.

It is also usually reported within such narratives that although Crowley made certain to close that opened portal, the rather bumbling occultists L. Ron Hubbard and Jack Parsons (the founders of Scientology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, respectively) perhaps accidentally reopened it by the introduction of their own magickal endeavors, called the Babylon Working (much to Crowley's disgust.)

That the Babylon Working took place in 1946-just one year before the modern UFO era would be ushered in with Kenneth Arnold's famous saucer sightings, and the Roswell announcement adds to its idea of opened portals and alien entities. ... "

http://www.ufodigest.com/news/1107/dabbledoo.html

kultcha vultcha: homage to semidravsky

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060959/plotsummary
Two teenage girls, both named Marie, decide that since the world is spoiled they will be spoiled as well; accordingly they embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world about them. This freewheeling, madcap feminist farce was immediately banned by the government. Written by Fiona Kelleghan

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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