What is wealth?

What is really the source, the basis, for economic value?
How is wealth created?
Why does our society locate the "ownership" of wealth in individuals?

Wealth has its source in production. In result, it is the labor of production, or of resource extraction, or of service, that originates the value of wealth.
Wealth is the materialization of excess labor, of labor value reserved by society to be invested in tools of production to the end of increasing the productivity of labor.
It is socially organized labor that is the basis of economic value.

Wealth is created by withholding some product of labor from consumption --consumption for sustenance or pleasure-- by the laborer. That is, by reserving and aggregating that withheld product in some form that can be made available to investment in the tools of production.
Toward the end of achieving this investment, society establishes roles (and the corresponding statuses, positions in social organization) that bear the responsibility …

Mass killings

Mass killings in America and mass killing abroad are not two separate things. The one cannot be stopped without stopping the other.

The mass killings in the US and the overweening influence of the NRA over politicians are not problems separate from American weapons killing thousands of children a year in foreign lands and the utter dominance of the military-industrial complex over the American economy. 

School shootings are “the war brought home.”
Stop the war. Here and there.

People don't vote their self-interest. Nor do people vote rationally to promote their principles or advance their values. Instead, people vote for the candidate with whom they symbolically-emotionally identify. Both self-interest and principles or values enter into the choice of candidate primarily when these things serve as symbols for the expressive-emotional needs of the voter.

Symbolic-emotional election of leaders is true not only for individual voters, but --even more so-- for the collectivities those individual voters comprise. After all, the result of an election is a collective product; the winner --and thus the winning majority-- represents the entire collectivity. To the extent that it is true that collective actions express the needs of the collectivity-as-a-whole, even the "losing" voters are authentically part of the "we-who-did-that."

Donald Trump represents us all. Truly. We need to own it. "Us and them" masks the group reality.

President Trump: the fall of Rome and the collapse of industrial society.

My Psychohistory maillist said: "The "id candidate" has won.” America’s unconscious, the return of the repressed. Psychoanalytic models for understanding collective behavior.
Sounds right to me. We already know that resentment drives anti-establishment movements. Trump supporters represent the American unconscious: a little boy, angry at being frustrated in his desires and fearful of losing his self-coherence if he turns to his mother for succor.
And monied though Trump is, Hillary is too much the face of the existing system. He’s the rich kid who makes trouble right alongside the class losers. So everyone who feels rejected by the elite can find it easy to identify with him.
Or, more simply, (sociologically, rather than psychologically) America has failed sufficiently to educate her populace. Conceiving of education as a private benefit rather than as a public good, and refusing sufficiently to finan…

"Unthinkable": Merging Foucault and Lakoff/Johnson via Borge's fantastic "Chinese" taxonomy

A light flashed for me, things clicked into place. I asked what Foucault meant when he said the Chinese taxonomy is unthinkable. That we could speak it and write it out, but not think it?
I know what “unthinkable” means here. Reading Foucault in the context of Lakoff/Johnson clarifies it. (Now that I see it, it’s obvious. Isn’t that the way of things?)
I’ll provide a more thorough account later, but for now I can say that the Chinese taxonomy’s unthinkability is due to it being inconsistent with the cognitive unconscious, which functions as a kind of transmission band for the mapping of the sensorimotor domain onto the abstract thought/self-awareness domain(s). Foucault writes:
"The monstrous quality that runs through Borges’s enumeration consists, on the contrary, in the fact that the common ground on which such meetings are possible has itself been destroyed. What is impossible is not the propinquity of the things listed, but the very site on which their propinquity would be possi…

Right-wing Republican Extremism as Rooted in a Medievalist Epistemology

The attitude toward knowledge exhibited by the extremist supporters of right-wing Republicans seems to be a reversion to the kind of thought that pervaded medieval Europe. It's an anti-modernism. The modernist attitude toward knowledge, which developed in the Enlightenment of the 15th to 17th centuries, with the growth of technology and the emergence of science, relies on reason and empirical evidence developed and tested by a community of independently thinking individuals. The medieval attitude toward knowledge, which had been locked in place for at least a millennium and a half, was that knowledge was only created by the Deity and only revealed in the Bible; thus, no new knowledge could ever be created or found outside the official interpretations of the Bible. Medievalist knowledge is strictly authoritarian and a priori, while modernist knowledge is anti-authoritarian and empirical.

Authoritarian knowledge tends to be extremely prejudiced, rigidly unchanging, and …
There is an unacknowledged diversity of sexual reproduction in nature: "Welcome to the world of shelled sea-butterfly sex, in which the all-male population mate, store sperm, then change into females that fertilize themselves."

Bipolar Disorder, by Gretel Erhlich
a review of Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land, 
James McClintock, Palgrave Macmillan.
onearth, winter 2013