Saturday, December 17, 2011
If you enjoyed this essay, you may also enjoy "Mein Kampf - An Analysis" and "America On Strike" also written by Richard Edward Noble.
Click on the book covers to the right on this page for more information. Thanks.
My zone, your zone, our zone and the ozone.
by Richard E. Noble
The “History of the Great American Fortunes” by Gustavus Myers was used in this essay – a very interesting Radical analysis of this accepted American Right.
We hold sacred the Right to Private Property here in the United States. But this Right has not been without controversy. This notion once included the right to buy and sell other human beings and their children. It was also used by industrialist and Robber Barons alike to shoot their disgruntled workers and to deny them the right to organize and to bargain collectively for better working conditions and higher wages.
At one point in our history it applied to women and children. A man once owned his wife and children.
This Right to Private Property has also conflicted with the State and the Federal Government – Public Domain, Eminent Domain, National and State parks, National and State forests – roads, highways, interstate, damns, reservoirs etc.
On the international level, Private Ownership has been the divisive issue of the last two centuries. We define our current political systems by it:
Capitalism = Democracy + Private ownership
Socialism = Democracy + Public Ownership
Fascism = Dictatorship + Private Ownership
Communism = Dictatorship + Public Ownership
Conflicts with regards to public and private ownership are all around us today because of zoning laws and building codes and, of course, taxes. I’ve often wondered at what dollar amount a property tax turns into a rent. And considering the above definitions, when and if a property tax becomes so large that it is considered a rent; does Capitalism then evolve into Socialism? But even more interesting than that is the question of the basis and foundation of Private Property.
Private Property is based on a principle that, I think, no American would accept as fair, just, or even reasonable today.
Property has always been gained, from the beginnings of mankind’s times, through power, force and military might. The borders of countries have, for the most part, always been determined by conquests, invasions and war. Kings and power lords conquered and doled out property to their favorites. If there were people living on the property, they went with it. If you owned the property, you owned the people who lived on it also.
In the establishment of the American Colonies, we had what were called Patroons. The Patroons owned vast estates that were given to them by charters or grants or purchased from the Crown or others or that they finagled by deceit or fraud. It wasn’t until 1839 in New York that this manorial system was seriously challenged by the tenants who lived on and farmed the land. The land barons were forced by the revolt of the people and the New York Legislature in 1846 to sell off their estates in small farms to the people who lived and worked them. Of course, they sold off these vast estates at exorbitant prices, but nevertheless the tradition of small, individual, property ownership was enhanced.
Then the big money moved to the city. It was here that men like John Jacob Astor and industrialists like William “Billy” Wood and Andrew Carnegie, Pullman and bankers, like J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller Jr., turned the development of cities into their personal gold mines. Tenement housing, an apparent monetary triviality, turned into multi-million and billion dollar opportunities for their investment capital.
While Astor, and those of his unscrupulous agents and middlemen, got richer and richer, they turned the tenement factory worker communities into death traps for the poor and hard working. Diseases like typhoid fever, tuberculosis, cholera and others spread rapidly throughout the tenement communities. But the millions of dollars rolled in over the bodies of the poor until once again, as the rural tenant farmers had exploded in 1839; rebellion rankled in the streets and the tenement neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The disgruntled and downtrodden, brought to the end of their faith in tolerance and acceptance, were finally motivated to risk their lives in the streets and back alleys. Somehow their protests were finally able to rouse the politicians, and laws began to evolve to protect the health and well being of the families living in these pits of American industrial revolutional squalor.
Astor and his super-wealthy friends then decided that it was time to give or dump the tenements onto the masses. The investment brokers would liquefy their assets. They sold their uncared for, unhealthy, vermin and rat invested, tenement disease incubators, before laws could be promoted requiring the landlords to spend some of their acquired millions to clean them up. It was a good business move. But once again, through a dark backdoor, the cause of individual ownership and private property was extended.
The prices of the tenements were high and exploitative, but somehow many hard working laboring families were able to become property owners – participants in the prized evolution of the propertied class.
Adolf Hitler dealt with the historical right to national territory and property rights – by way of Power and Might – extensively in his autobiography, Mein Kampf.
Adolf could not accept that a great nation, like his own, could be, cramped in such a tiny space in central Europe, while a much inferior nation like Russia had such a vast expanse of land to the west. He used the history of mankind to make his claim that the borders of any country are determined by the will of their peoples. Those with the will and the power, take; and those without the will and power are destroyed. To Adolf this was the fundamental principle of Civilization and an undeniable law of Nature – the survival of the fittest.
Russia and a good many other nations of the world disagreed. A catchy phrase of the period was – Might does not make Right. As far as I know, nobody wrote a book explaining why Might did not make Right but many people felt that the notion had merit – even if they didn’t know why. Adolf went ahead and tried to prove his point, but failed. At least he failed to prove that his people and his nation had the will and the power to establish their Might as Right. Whether or not Might actually does make Right still remains questionable, but, by no means, absolutely without foundation.
During a period called the Enlightenment, the world seemed to go through a sort of introspection and soul searching. Philosophers, social thinkers, economists, political reformers and the like all began to question the right of Private Property along with a good many other long established notions. William Godwin wrote a book, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice in 1793, and in the Colonies a controversial pamphleteer, Thomas Paine, wrote a piece that he entitled Agrarian Justice. Godwin questioned the whole idea of Private Property and Paine, accepting that Private
Property was a basic injustice, went on to devise an accommodation for property-less individuals.
An economist, Richard Ricardo, challenged property owners and the negative influence of their rents on the economy and wrote a book, Principles of Political Economy, challenging their moral and economic right to do so. He threw his support behind the new moneyed industrialist, entrepreneur and business community – he was a stockbroker by trade – and against the old, established class of property owner. He fought against the protective Corn Laws that were making land owners wealthy, claiming that these laws only served to increase wages, raise prices and create what is now called inflation. Ricardo, unintentionally, plants the first seeds of the class warfare which followed in later generations.
John S. Mill in his Political Economy – accepting Paine’s notion of the injustice of the un-propertied – tried to devise another solution. Paine had suggested that a tax should be placed on the propertied and that at the age of maturity every man without property would receive a cash inheritance as compensation. Mill suggested that the state would buy back from individuals all property and from then on, property would be rented or leased by the State. Henry George later expanded this idea into his Single Tax notion – but with no buy-back from the present property holders.
Then came Karl Marx and Frederick Engels who espoused an evolutionary theory of property that brought things back to Godwin. Their original idea was that private property would simply dissolve into an egalitarian utopia due to the inevitable collapse of Capitalism which would be prompted by the evolutionary destruction of monopolization. Lenin and others believed that this utopia was truly evolutional and inevitable, but evolution was just too slow. Lenin, and those who believed similarly, decided that the historical evolution of a classless, egalitarian economy needed the prodding of a benevolent dictator. True believing followers, like Joseph Stalin felt that benevolence was over-rated.
We no longer discuss the rights of the un-propertied or the moral justice of inheriting property, or people having too much property. We seem to have come to the notion that as long as a majority of individuals have the opportunity to work, save money, and buy their own piece of the planet – this is fair and just enough. The negative historical roots have all been put to the side, as beyond reclamation and practical justification.
Nevertheless, in recent years a return to introspection and moral and Agrarian Justice and soul searching has been revived. The exploitation and pollution of property and the planet has been suggested as morally unjust. There is now an argument between the property owner and the long term interests of random mankind.
Teddy Roosevelt had his preservation and set-aside notions which have given us our National Parks, forests and monuments. Today, we are now considering morally, environmentally and economically the use of an individual’s or developer’s property in relation to his neighbors – his community, his state, his country, the world – to future generations. It is the tree huggers against the libertarians.
Some go so far as to call this a revolution. The Green Revolution it is called. Peace and goodwill to man via clean water, clean air and socially correct balanced growth. The libertarians say these tree lovers are fanatics who care more about woodpeckers and brown-speckled, sap-sucking, bank climbing beetles than they do people. These people (tree huggers) hold Walt Disney as a god and fantasyland and Disney World in Orlando as a real possibility for the future of mankind and community development – these Libertarians say. And sometimes it is difficult to see if these Green revolutionaries are trying to make the world safer for people or fire ants.
On the other hand, if the libertarian has his way there may not be any more fire ants or people. We could revert back to cesspools of congested living, and rivers, lakes and oceans filled with green dyes, mercury, toxic chemicals, OIL, and non-edible, deformed, dying and disappearing sea creatures – not to mention, people (including Americans).
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
If General Smedly Darlington Butler's understanding of War interests you, you may be interested in reading "Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One" by Richard Edward Noble.
General Smedley Darlington Butler
“The Plot to Seize the White House”
Written by Jules Archer
By Richard E. Noble
This book is basically a biography of General Smedley D. Butler. Once again I must admit my ignorance in stating that I had never heard of this General or this plot against Franklin Roosevelt or of the author Jules Archer.
General Butler as it turns out was quite well known in his day, the plot to seize the White house was investigated in Congress and Mr. Archer has written many successful books.
Smedley Butler was a Marine and quite a Marine he was. He is another great General from a Quaker background. His dad was a judge and served in the congress for 32 years.
Smedley fought in Cuba, in the Philippines, in Mexico, in Nicaragua, in Honduras, in Granada, in Haiti, in China, and in Europe during World War I. He served in the Marine Corps for 33 years and on August 21, 1931 in a speech before the American Legion convention in Connecticut he summed up his career with the following:
“I spent 33 years ... being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short I was a racketeer for capitalism ... I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
“In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested ... I had ... a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions ... I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents.”
And he went on.
As you can imagine he created quite a stir. But his marines loved him. They lined up everywhere to hear him speak and to shake his hand. He was under fire over 120 times in his career, wounded numerous times and had a chest full of medals – he was presented with the prestigious Medal of Honor twice. On the first presentation he sent it back saying that he didn’t deserve it. The Marine Corps sent it back to him and ordered him to wear it. So he did.
At his retirement at Quantico he gave his farewell speech to his beloved Leathernecks and said; “It has been a privilege to scrap for you just as you have scrapped for me ... When I leave I mean to give every one of you a map showing you exactly where I live. I want you to come around and see me, especially if you ever get into trouble and I will help you if I can. I can give you a square meal and a place to sleep even if I can not guarantee you a political job.”
He actually gave out maps and it is said that he lived up to all his promises.
He supported the 1932 Bonus Army and their march on Washington and the Hover government. The same group of World War I vets who were routed out of their cardboard shacks and tents by MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton brandishing their sabers and doing their duty to defend America against America’s past heroes.
General Butler supported Franklin Roosevelt and he had this to say in one of his speeches:
“Today, with all our wealth, a deathly gloom hangs over us. Today we appear to be divided. There has developed, through the past few years, a new Tory class, a group that believes that the nation, its resources and its manpower was provided by the Almighty for its own special use and profit ... on the other side is the great mass of American people who still believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
“This Tory group, through its wealth, its power and its influence, has obtained a firm grip on our government to the detriment of our people and the well being of our nation. We will prove to the world that we meant what we said a century and a half ago – that this government was instituted not only to secure to our people the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but the right to eat and to all our willing millions the right to work.”
He developed a really unique military strategy. He shook the press and all the big wigs up when he said that he would never again carry a gun on foreign soil. He went on to propose two Constitutional amendments. In the first he suggested that only those who were physically able to fight be allowed to vote on any war. In the second he suggested that our planes and ships guard our coastline exclusively. He wanted it to be an end to U.S. imperialism and foreign wars. He was even opposed to our entry into World War II.
This book then goes on to tell of a plot on the part of the disgruntled rich and wealthy in America to seize the U.S. Government via an organization of soldiers and World War I veterans and establish a Fascist Government, as had been done in Italy and Germany. Butler exposed the plot and named names – the Du Ponts, J. P. Morgan, Rockefeller, Pew, Mellon, Al Smith, John J. Raskob and others of the rich and prominent were all brought under the spotlight.
An investigation in Congress took place and, of course, all the charges were denied. No one was ever indicted or prosecuted, but all of Butler claims were verified and corroborated by the investigators. The plot was foiled by its exposure and the American people and its government was alerted to the danger.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
If you are interested in this subject and the "Jewish Problem," you might find my analysis of Book One of Mein Kampf interesting.
Click on cover of book to the right on this page for more information. Thanks.
Peace not Apartheid
By Jimmy Carter
By Richard E. Noble
This book is a synopsis or outline of President Jimmy Carter’s many years of attempting to solve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
It is organized, simple, straightforward and to the point.
The Israeli Government was very upset with the ex-President’s analysis of the problem. I think this is because Mr. Carter views the Palestinians as justified, legal cohabiters in the right to ownership of the territory involved in this dispute rather than from the Israeli perspective that the Palestinians are terrorists and anarchists who are unfortunately living within the borders of Israeli lands whose goals include fomenting insurrection for the purposes of destroying and undermining the Israeli homeland and government. This is an obviously large gap in perspectives.
Jimmy starts the book with a brief analysis of all the countries involved. In a few short pages he describes each country and the stability and direction of their political systems. This was very enlightening to me. It was surely an oversimplification of each country, maybe even considered a caricature by experts, but perfect for the purposes of those of us who are not educated in the modern history of the various countries involved and only know what we “read in the papers”and hear on the nightly news.
The book contains an appendix with all the various resolutions and compromises that have been suggested and sometimes agreed to over the years.
Mr. Carter’s analysis is cold and blunt. If the President has a defect it is probably his inability to temper what he considers the truth.
The book is not filled with belly laughs but I did get an occasional smile. Like when he spoke to a group of Israelis at a political forum in Israel and mentioned to his audience that he was surprised that the questions from the Israeli audience received considerably more applause than his answers. And after you have read the book the reason will be clear.
The Book closes with The President’s …
Bottom Line: “Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of the majority of its own citizens – and honor its own commitments – by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions. The
United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.
"It will be a tragedy – for the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the world – if peace is rejected and a system of oppression, apartheid, and sustained violence is permitted to prevail.”
After reading this book and several others on the subject I have a personal and much more cynical bottom line.
I think that peace will come to that area when either the Palestinians or the Israelis vacate the area and find another home.
The Israelis are not leaving and they never will. Israel is the Jewish last stand. They will do whatever they feel is necessary to survive ... whatever!
The Palestinians receive token and guilt money from their Arab brothers but no Arab country wants the Palestinians in their territory. They have been chased out of every country in the area that has been strong enough to do so. Even their Arab brothers wish that they would disappear.
The Palestinians should cut their losses, take as much land as they can negotiate and petition the Israelis and the governments of the world for as much money as they can get in the name of world peace.
I feel the world and even Israel and the U.S. would be willing to commit substantial amounts.
With that land and money they should build themselves a country of their own where all Palestinians are welcome.
Whether they have been treated justly or not is no longer of any concern.
Monday, December 05, 2011
If you enjoy this economic essay on minimum wage and its perils to society and the wealthy, you may enjoy "Hobo-ing America" by Richard Edward Noble.
Click on cover to the right of this page for more information on "Hobo-ing America" and living on minimum wage ... for real.
What’s Wrong with Minimum Wages?
Why Don’t We Just Leave the Well-off Alone?
By Richard E. Noble
I have worked for minimum wage or below for the majority of my employment career - which started when I was about ten years old. I have always known that it is because of me that the world, at large, and the U.S. in particular, has been going to hell in a handbag. My bosses have explained this to me over and over.
You see, it is because of my demanding this exorbitant minimum wage that we have inflation, constantly escalating prices, unemployment, teenagers idling on street corners and a vanishing industrial and manufacturing base.
Strangely enough, people who make exorbitant paychecks and profits as owners of businesses and CEOs and CFOs, and Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, Stock brokers, people receiving dividends from their stock portfolios and Indian chiefs who own gambling casinos in Miami have just the opposite effect on the economy. Their pay increases do not cause inflation or increase prices; instead their extra money acts as a stimulus to the economy, promotes investment at home and abroad, creates jobs everywhere and, in general, makes the world a better place for everybody to live.
It goes like this: if you give Michael Jordan or some such wealthy person another billion dollars a week, as opposed to giving another dollar a week to each employee at the Nike factory in Slumbovia, or Bumslavia, or Weallstarvingistan - nothing negative, economically, occurs. Prices do not go up because Michael Jordan or another among the minority of the rich has more money. They already have everything they ever wanted. They don’t need to buy anything. How many Hummers, BMWs, yachts, and diamond rings can one person have? Besides if the price of a quarter mile long yacht goes from 147 million to 150 million who would notice. This increase wouldn’t even make it into the pages of Money Magazine.
You can give all the money you want to rich people and nothing in the economic world will change. This is an economic fact that was proven in the laboratory of real life economic science in 1929 by that great American monetary savant, Herbert Hoover. And in recent times this miracle was duplicated by G.W. Bush – another economic genius.
On the other hand, an extra dollar in the pockets of a bunch of poor people automatically throws any economy into a tailspin. Right off, the price of M-D 20-20 skyrockets along with bread, peanut butter, and Chevrolet automobiles. This hits the commodity and retail markets immediately. The price of grain and legumes all over the world goes nuts. Farmers instantly begin double cropping, planting in-between the rows, and doubling up on fertilizers and polluting pesticides; government subsidies go through the roof, while profits to the farmers go down and the price of a tomato at the IGA in Wisconsin goes to a buck-fifty apiece. General Motors has to increase production, but the cost of labor in the U.S. is bankrupting them; so their new plant in China gets the contract while the DuPont family sells off all of their shares in Aunt Jemima Pancakes. It’s chaos.
If I, and those of my ilk, were willing to work for half or one third of minimum wage, my boss then could hire two or three more morons like me and, of course, the unemployment problem would vanish. This would also, more than likely, solve the illegal immigrant problem besides.
You see, if I were willing to pick tomatoes and sleep in an abandon building or old slave cottage or a farmer’s barn or root cellar while defecating in the woods or orchards or behind the hedges of better-off people in the San Bernardino mountains like illegal immigrants do, then the farmers would not have to encourage Coyotes to smuggle poor Mexicans and Central Americans across the Rio Grande and into Miami, Seattle, New York, New Jersey and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nor would they have to continue to falsify their labor and Social Security reports.
But because I, and others like me, are unwilling to do this, these poor farmers and packing house owners, and cottage-garment industry sweat-shop owners, and restaurant and construction company owners and landscapers, and concrete company and gas station owners, and grocery stores, and chicken and beef processing houses, and home cleaning and domestic services, and large chain department stores etc., all have to do all of these illegal, immoral things.
We minimum wage earners are like the pornographic video and bookstores in Holyoake, Missouri – we are the evil temptresses that lure the Jimmy Swaggarts and Tammy Faye Bakers into the snake pit of moral depravity; we are the Chunky Cheeses to the video game addict; we are the irresistible impulse luring the unsuspecting all over the world – we are the ones who are ruining the economic world. It is us, with our benign satisfaction with mediocrity, or unwillingness to achieve, and our ignorant and obstinate choice to remain unsuccessful.
Why is it that we continually choose to work at JR stores, and wash dishes in greasy-spoon type restaurants who provide no health insurance? Why do we continually take up residence in crime ridden ghettos? Why the heck don’t we just move? Why don’t we make application to better universities? Why do we accept advice and principles from parents who are even dumber than we are?
All of our kind hearted, generous employers are, of course, very good people; they are not criminals. They are as responsible and as civic minded as any banker, for god’s sake! It’s us; it’s me. And, you know, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I don’t know why I act like this. I have tried to get help for this problem but I have been unable to find any psychiatrists who are willing to work for minimum wage. They feel that if they work for any less than one hundred dollars a minute, research in mental health will be abandoned and more nutty folks, like myself, will be put out onto the sidewalks and alleyways of the American inner cities. This, of course, will increase the perv quotient, promote crime, juvenile delinquency and the threat of terrorism everywhere.
It was because of people like me, way back when, demanding their pays to be raised to a minimum that forced the textile mills to leave New England. It was the same type of ugly Americans in the Midwest and eventually in the South that forced these poor, patriotic hard working mill owners to go to South America, India and Asia where now, unfortunately, they are forced to deal with the same type ungrateful breed over there. We minimum wage earners keep breeding like flies – there seems to be no end to our kind.
What is the matter with us minimum wage workers? When will we ever learn?
If we continually ask for more money, this just makes the prices of things rise; and after the prices go up, we still don’t have any more money than we used to have. So what is the sense to it? What will it take for us to learn that we must figure out how to live on whatever it is that the boss is willing to pay us?
We certainly can’t ask the bosses to take less money. Why just look around, they are barely getting by on what they have now. And besides, there are so few of them and so many of us. I mean, if we took all the money from the 10% who own and control everything – all the rich people in the world – and divided it up among all the poor in the world, the price of peanut butter and jelly in the U.S. would be a thousand dollars a jar. M-D 20-20 would only be served at fine restaurants. Golf courses would disappear and America would become one huge bowling alley. Yes, every other cardboard house that the poor have built in the garbage dumps of the world might get a new tin roof – big deal.
Poor people just don’t seem to understand, if God wanted poor people to be better off, He wouldn’t have created Conservatives.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
If you find this book interesting, you may also find my two books "America on Strike" and "Mein Kampf - Analysis of Book One" to be of equal interest. Thanks.
Click on book covers to the right on this page for more information.
Declaration of a Heretic
By Jeremy Rifkin
By Richard E. Noble
I’ve taken a recent interest in books by Jeremy Rifkin. He has written several. “Declaration of a Heretic” is my second. My first was “The End of Work.” I have already posted that review.
In this book Mr. Rifkin presents his case against science – a difficult challenge to say the least.
He concentrates his attack on the two most significant breakthroughs of the 20th century: the splitting of the atom which ushered in the Atomic Age and the discovery of the double helix that brought the dawning of the Genetics Age.
“To cast these discoveries aside. To let languish the concepts that gave rise to them. To abandon the line of intellectual thought that led up to them. To say no to the human motivation that inspired them. For the true believers, the staunch upholders of the existing orthodoxy, such thought qualify as heresy.”
And so the challenge begins.
The author brings us all the way back to the Bible to trace the beginnings of this dilemma and the human penchant for learning and science. He reminds us that Adam and Eve bit of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Knowledge and learning were the human curse plaguing mankind according to our Christian theological roots.
Now expelled from the Garden of Eden man would be forever condemned to live in constant fear of death and as a consequence of this angst he would be driven to seek security and perpetual life here on earth. Knowledge would lead to power and power would provide security and eventually life ever lasting.
Now science comes to the foreground.
“The Apostles of truth are no longer Peter, Paul, John, Mark and Luke. They are Bacon, Descartes, Newton, Locke and Darwin.”
We then dabble into Greek Mythology by touching onto Epimetheus and Prometheus.
“Prometheus noticed that Epimetheus had already distributed all the qualities at his disposal to the rest of the plants and animals. Not wanting to leave human beings totally unprotected, Prometheus stole the mechanical arts and fire from the gods and gave them to man and women.”
To the above scientific mix we add Adam Smith. We then proceed from Bacon to Descartes to Newton, to Smith to Darwin.
Bacon gave us the scientific method with his monumental work “Novum Organum.”
Descartes turned humans into machines and the universe into a mathematically predictable set of numbers and equations. “Give me extension and motion and I will construct the universe.”
Newton with his forces and gravity further reduced the universe to a matter of formulated laws of matter and motion.
“Locke concluded that each individual was like an isolated bit of matter in the universe with no goal than to perpetuate itself.”
Locke contended that “the negation of nature is the way towards happiness.”
Adam Smith then came and put the whammy on everything by claming that “it is only by each individual attempting his own material advantage that the common good of society is advanced.”
“Smith claimed to have discovered a natural law, the invisible hand, which he said automatically regulated the supply and demand of scarce resources among all the members of society.”
This type thinking brought us to the mandate of today’s modern civilization … efficiency.
If we will to be secure we must be efficient at all costs. Knowledge = power = control = security, which leads us all to cower beneath the dictates of efficiency and the efficiency gurus who now rule the world.
This book moves along asking all the biggest questions. Are we better off today because of the splitting of the atom or the discovery of the double helix? Has science truly been the benefactor of mankind or its nemesis? Or is it like most other things a blessing and a curse simultaneously?
If science does indeed have its negative and detrimental sides should we not be looking at it with a more reflective eye towards the damage it has done and to what can prevent further damage to man’s future on this tentative planet?
What is more important, efficiency, production and unlimited profits or human involvement, live sustaining jobs and the quality of our environment and human existence?
We now have the power via science and the splitting of the atom to explode the human race and this planet to extinction.
By way of our new scientific discoveries in biology, chemistry and genetic engineering we now have the capacity to reconstruct agriculture and human nature. Like Mrs. Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein from the annals of science fiction, we evolve to a real world in which the species barrier is not even a problem.
Today via genetic engineering we can construct crops and barnyard animals that have never existed previously. We already have a combination goat and sheep concoction and a mouse that has been injected with human hormone that the geneticists have named Mighty Mouse. It sounds rather funny but it is much more frightening than it is humorous.
We not only have the potential to do this, it is being done right now in the world around us. And it is being supervised, regulated and controlled by nobody. It has all been turned over to the so called free market. Which means it is entirely in the hands of the for-profit business community.
The oil companies have a bacteria they have spliced together in the lab that will eat oil slick. They are afraid to use it. They don’t really know what it can do.
Could it eat up all the oil reserves in the world and then present us with uncontrollable bacteria with totally unpredictable genetic possibilities? Could it combine with other natural things and produce other possibilities with no antidote.
If this were not bad enough the geneticists are now capable of cutting and pasting a new human being. A total prefabricating of human nature may be in the future. Man is attempting to scientifically take over the process of creation. A new horror along the eugenics line, may well be in our not too distant future.
When scientists first learned that it was possible to split the atom many of them standing at the testing grounds wondered if they were not in the process of totally destroying the planet. They were all not positive that the developing chain reaction that they were about to release could be stopped. They stood trembling for all mankind, but yet went forward with the test.
We were lucky that time. Will our luck continue with these new areas of discovery? Do we want to take such chances today? Wouldn’t it be wiser to put some rules and control into place?
But who will make these rules, Governments or capitalists?
The choices are on top of us. What do we do? What should we do?
The author is an optimist and a utopian of sorts. He gives us his cure for this mounting catastrophe.
This is another more than thought provoking work by Mr. Jeremy Rifkin. I would suggest everyone read it.
To say that this little book provides “much food for thought” would be grossly understating its importance.
Find out for yourself.
Get a copy of “Declaration of a Heretic.” Read it. Think about it.
It is up to us to decide if and how we and our planet will survive.
The future is here and it is scary.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
For more information about "Hobo-ing America" click on the cover of the book to the right on this page. Thanks
By Richard E. Noble
This was the most exciting adventure in our lives and despite all the conversation, very few people actually do what Carol and I did. We sold everything we owned, including Carol’s little MG Midget; bought a van and hit the road, Jack. We left our secure lives in 1976 and the adventure never stopped. I was managing restaurants and Carol was a reparatory therapist working the emergency room at a Miami hospital.
When our initial adventure capital ran out, we were reading the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. We were inspired. Why couldn’t we get crazy migrant/hobo type jobs and continue traveling across America? We did. And that is where this book begins – in a farm labor bureau employment office in California. We were signing up to go “top onions” with all the poor contract laborers and illegal immigrants. The interviewer thought we were nuts.
I subtitled this book “a workingman’s adventure.” That is not quite fair to Carol who also lived a “workingman’s” life. She didn’t sit back at the van baking cupcakes (though, she does bake good cupcakes and bread too). She climbed 20 ft. ladders to pluck oranges from the top of thorny oranges trees; she tonged oysters from the bottom of Apalachicola Bay; she topped onions crawling around on her hands and knees in the desert-like sun of southern California. She did a “man’s” work, as they say.
We are both now well into our 60’s and as I review this book and our adventure, I must say I found a girl who was one in a million. Carol can gripe with God over what she was given but I certainly have no justified complaints on the girl he sent to me.
We had so much fun on this adventure that I felt compelled to write a book about it.
Our adventure began in 1976 and ended in an ice cream parlor in Carrabelle Florida in the year 2000. That’s where the book ends but our adventure is still in progress.
Deciding to pack up and leave Fort Lauderdale and our steady, dependable jobs and lives to have a little adventure before we were too old to enjoy it, was truly a monumental decision. It changed our lives and it changed us … for the better.
When I compare this to other travel books and I have read them all – On the Road by Jack Kerouac or Charles Karualt, Mark Twain’s many travel books, the Dove, Walking Across America, Blue Highways, Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck, Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, I think Hobo-ing America stands out as somewhat unique.
We worked our way around this country. We weren’t on a sabbatical or a scholarship. We weren’t getting a check from National Geographic. We worked and we worked hard doing jobs that better-off Americans wouldn’t do on a dare.
There are only two other books that I think compare with Hobo-ing America in this regard, Two Years before the Mast by William Henry Dana and Pages from a Worker’s Life by William Z. Foster. Those two guys also put in some sweat.
This is a fun book. It is written as Mark Twain advised, without the author forgetting his sense of humor. We had great fun and met bunches of loveable and very interesting people. It was the experience of a lifetime for both Carol and I.
We both hope you will buy a copy and enjoy reading it.
And good luck on your adventure.
You can find more of this type thinking and analysis in either "Noble Notes on Famous Folks" or "Mein Kamp - An Analysis of Book One." For more information on either of these books click on the book covers on the right on this page. Thanks.
The Problems of Philosophy
By Richard E. Noble
Bertrand has written on many different subjects and many of his books can often appeal to the general reader. This book is for those interested in philosophy and who enjoy esoteric arguments. It is for the person with and average philosophical interest and not necessarily the Ph.D. candidate. It is not a difficult book but some of the problems discussed seem rather unimportant from my perspective ... but?
The first problem is Appearance and Reality. This gets into the Bishop Berkeley school of thought which has never much appealed to me. I realize that appearances can be deceiving but to jump to the notion that reality and matter really do not even exist is a little much for me. To start talking about things only having existence in the mind of God when no one can establish that a God exists and if he did exist how he could possibly have a mind is out in right field to me.
The chapter begins by asking if there is any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it. The chapter ends telling us that Leibniz believes that matter is a community of souls and Berkeley tell us that matter is an idea in the mind of God and sober science tells us that matter is a vast collection of electric charges in violent motion.
The conclusion is that maybe matter doesn't exist after all, and is really only appearances or what seems to be … a mirage, a delusion, a conjuring of the human mind.
The second chapter discusses the Existence of Matter. We immediately get into Descartes discovering himself and expand into the notion that maybe only Descartes exist and all else is the product of his imagination.
Bertrand then tells us that if we wish to become philosophers we must be willing to tackle the absurd. Obviously! By the end of this chapter the author assures us that there is something in the universe besides our comprehension of ourselves and our dreams. There does seem to be "reality" or matter even if it is perceived differently or inadequately by each of us.
The next chapter discusses the Nature of Matter. As we try to figure out what matter is, we discover that we cannot separate ourselves and our methods of perception from the investigation. This problem has led some philosophers (i.e. Berkeley and Leibniz) to conclude that matter really does not exist and is more a case of mistaken identity. Bertrand disagrees and promises us his reasoning in the future chapter.
This chapter is entitled Idealism. Bertrand once again warns us about dismissing the apparently absurd. I wonder why? But from my perspective to say that something does not exist because I am not viewing it correctly or with total objectivity or accuracy is rather absurd. But we will persist.
Bertrand goes on to tell us that the Bishop Berkeley made valid arguments that confirm that our sense data cannot have an existence independent of us. (Yeah? But the object of our senses can exist in and of themselves whether we can sense them or not.) Berkeley then concludes that matter can then only exist in the mind of the observer or some Infinite observer.
Once again, in my opinion we are back to the absurd and a rather advanced egocentricity. Bertrand then explains that the Bishop has confused the thing apprehended with the act of apprehension.
No kidding! It seems that Mr. Berkley thinks that his seeing something gives that something its existence. I'm sorry – is this really worth all this discussion? Isn't this just foolishness?
Bertrand then states that Berkeley's notion that the objects apprehended must be mental has no validity whatsoever. I agree but then why are we wasting so much time on Mr. Berkley? I guess that it is because if we want to be philosophers we must not dismiss the absurd.
Sartre also spent a lot of time and space analyzing this confusion in his book Being and Nothingness. After a while he also boarders on the absurd. The trouble with discussing things that are absurd is that eventually you will also become absurd and very possibly irrelevant.
In the next chapter we get into knowledge and how we learn things. We learn of Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description. This seems rather basic – you know something because of your personal experience with that thing or you know of it because it has been described or explained to you.
In the next chapter we get into learning by induction or inductive learning. This is predictable expectation based on past uniformity. The sun will probably rise tomorrow because of our knowledge of what the sun has done in the past. No guarantee but a good indicator.
Next we discuss experience and a priori knowledge. Some things we know because of our experience and others we know because of general principles – nothing can both be and not be; whatever is, is; everything must either be or not be.
Bertrand then states that Immanuel Kant is generally regarded as the greatest of the modern day philosophers. I didn't know that.
How a priori knowledge is possible is the next discussion. This is somewhat difficult when we start analyzing two plus two but that something either is or it isn't seems clear enough. When we get into "numbers" I have a problem.
Numbers are not "things" they are contrived representations of quantities of things. To state that mathematics is a priori knowledge of some sort is confusing to me. Obviously this a priori and synthetic stuff is an area where I need to read more. Numbers are all contrived as far as I am concerned. And any relation between them is learned or gained by previous induction episodes of learning. That numbers or mathematics has some sort of a priori significance, I don't get.
When we get into universals and Plato we seem to be returning to Berkley and the realm of the absurd. Universals can be confusing but once again when we start believing that there actually exists a universal concept of a head or a chair or a wall or a dog or whatever we are going bonkers. What exists is my head, your head and his head not a head. This is another area that has been problematic to philosophers but not to anyone else.
Now we come to intuitive knowledge and things that are self-evident. This chapter I don't understand. Self-evident seems simple enough – something is there or it isn't there. Intuitive knowledge?
Now we come to truths and falsehoods. But for my dollar truth is what is. But I'm talking "matter" and fact. Bertrand wants to talk about statements. This statement is true and this statement is false. In which case truth depends on some correspondence between belief and fact. As we all know this can get very complicated and debatable. "The greater part of what would commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion," says Mr. Russell.
The next chapter deals with those that think that we can know more than we actually can know and with those who think, on the other hand, that nothing is knowable – Hegel in the first case and Hume in the latter.
Finally we come to the nature of philosophy and its value. Philosophy deals in questioning the unknown and once the unknown becomes known it is no longer called philosophy but science. So philosophy has a rather nebulous list of achievements. Bertrand closes this book with this final paragraph:
"Thus to sum up our discussion of the value of philosophy; philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good."
Well that, of course, states the case better than anything that I could say but for my part I must offer something.
I have always been attracted to philosophy because the philosophers were asking the questions that seemed important to me and by reading and studying their answers I always felt that I was learning how to think and reason intelligently and logically. By being able to think intelligently and logically I felt that I was then better equipped to solve the problems of life – my life in particular.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
After reading the Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse, try "Hobo-ing America" for something a little lighter or "America on Strike" for something heavier. Thanks.
For more information on either of my books click on book covers to the right of this page. Thanks again.
The Big Squeeze
By Steven Greenhouse
By Richard Edward Noble
In William Grieder’s book “One World Ready or Not,” Mr. Grieder takes us on a trip around the world. We visit the homes and workplaces of everyday workers of all types. We see up close and personal how they are being used and exploited by the new Globalism and the international business community. We get all points of view but when we see the same thing happening over and over all around the world, we can not help but to realize that these are not the exceptions but the abusive manner in which the world is being operated.
The Big Squeeze by Steven Greenhouse is a door to door stop and visit with workers all over America who are being used and abused in a similar fashion. In this work we see the domestic pattern.
I have seen the same type things and experienced the same disrespect as a workingman all my life. But I always considered it just a matter of my personal bad luck. I realize after reading this book, “The Big Squeeze” that it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just a bad company here and there. It wasn’t just a selfish employer that I happened to stumble upon. It is the way our country and our world has been heading for most of my life.
Because of my personal experiences as outlined in, “Hobo-ing America” and “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother,” I was led to do my own research and produce other works, “America on Strike,” and “Mein Kampf – An Analysis of Book One.”
My own works exhibit different aspects of this same sad story – the abusive treatment and total disrespect for working people that permeates our society and the globe.
I understand clearly that for every dissatisfied worker in any situation there are considerably more who are at the moment contented.
Even during the Great Depression when our nation was experiencing 30 and 40 percent unemployment, 6 or 7 out of every ten workers still had a job. As a consequence FDR was forced to subsidize photographers to go out and take pictures of soup lines and the homeless and unemployed all over America. Men, women and children who were down and out and even starving all over this country were suddenly made visible via newsreels and local newspapers and magazines.
These pictures had to be exhibited to the general public to prove to the working Americans who were lucky enough to still be employed that America was experiencing a serious economic problem.
Today unemployment has not reached Great Depression standards but we may be witnessing the preliminary stages.
In the Big Squeeze we see how the fear of unemployment and falling back from the “middle class” into the ranks of the poor is being used by employers to take unfair advantage of working people. Many of the stories in this book are horrendous. They go beyond just taking advantage and enter into the category of cruel and unusual. These Corporations and Companies are immoral without question.
But people do not go to prison for being immoral in America. All one can do is expose their immoral behavior and polices and hope that a majority will agree and be spurred on to action at the polls or in the streets if necessary.
The names and the companies are documented. The author tells the reader the home addresses of many of the bad guys – not the individuals but the corporations and their policies. You will recognize their names.
The biggest value of this book to me was to read and understand that it wasn’t just me. What I saw throughout my working career was commonplace. My experiences were not individual and unique. I was one among millions of other Americans who were waging their individual wars and fighting for their personal rights and self respect.
I realize now after reading this book, that if we all knew one another and were able to share our individual experiences we could have formed the largest worker rights advocate group that ever existed. But we didn’t … and unfortunately we still don’t. But maybe the time has come.
I have certainly been luckier than many of the people in this book. But I have had equal or worse experiences than some. My Johnny Paycheck philosophy of “take this job and shove it” I now realize saved me many years of potential misery.
The bottom line: the tactics and practices outlined in this book must be stopped. They can only be stopped if more working people know that what is and has been happening to them is not an anomaly but a policy and a practice of many companies in the business sector here and around the world – and these policies and practices are spreading. We can not let all the safeguards working Americans have fought for, for decades be eradicated by the false excuses proffered on behalf of Globalism or some misguided concept of supposed economic reality.
Globalism does not have to be synonymous with immorality and cruelty. There is no excuse for immoral, cruel, abusive behavior no matter what the economic situation.
This has got to stop.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Another masterpiece from the Bard of Chelmsford off Arlington.
This selection is from my first book of poetry "A Little Something."
For more information on this unique book of poetry click on book cover to the right on this page. Thanks.
I’M A STUBBORN OLD MULE
I’m a stubborn old mule,
As stubborn as they come.
A rail between the eyes is the only thing
That’ll make me run.
He doesn’t pat me gently on the brow,
Or say, “Come now friend, a little further now.”
No, No! It’s a beam between the eyes,
And a roaring scream and cry,
As he pushes and shoves with venom for an eye,
And brutality frothing in his unpatient sigh.
He has no memory of the burden I bore,
When I carried him, his gold, and a mountain of store.
He forgets how on the side of cliffs I trod,
As he cowered and crazed and cursed his God.
He has no memory of the thirst I craved,
Carrying his drink to an early grave.
He’s a brave man, who went down in books,
A crusty determined miner.
And I, who braved his dirty looks,
Hefted the load of gold for my forty-niner.
Ah yes, a brave man was he,
But he wouldn’t have a nickel if it weren’t for me.
But I’m a stubborn old mule,
And as dumb as can be.
But the old bastard wouldn’t have a nickel,
If it weren’t for the likes of me.
Carried him where his pretty horses wouldn’t go,
Through mountains, and deserts, and fields of snow.
But, in his fancies, he dreams of a saddle
And a golden mane,
His pretty little horses,
Dining on sacks of expensive grain.
But for his trusty, dusty steed, forever at his side,
It’s a drunken mumble, and tempered lash,
And another scar in my hide.
Many a day, when I’d had enough,
I sat in the middle of the road,
And laughed as he stammered and huffed and puffed.
Oh, how he wished to shoot me...
But who would carry the load?
Yes, many a time I wouldn’t go on.
But does he remember how I danced
On the edge of a cliff,
As he trembled and gasped, and for his life hung on.
A man of might, and right and power and gain,
And as he drunk his whiskey and barked to the stars,
I stood by quietly in the snow and the rain.
I’m as stubborn as a mule,
As stubborn as they come.
A rail between the eyes is the only thing
That’ll make me run.
I carry his load, sure footed I go,
But when I’ve had enough of his rum drenched batter,
I pull up, take a seat, and listen to his chatter.
The other day, in a fit of rage,
He pulled his rifle from my side.
“Move along, you stubborn old bastard,
Or I’ll shoot you right here,
And then tan your damn hide.”
I yawned, then lifted my head and brayed.
I curled my lips, then bared my broken teeth.
And when he shouldered his gun, I stared into the breech.
I felt the powder as it burnt my eye,
And a dull thud as a jolt from hell pierced my skull,
And I fell there onto my side.
But I’m a stubborn old mule,
As stubborn as they come.
I laid there with his pack and store,
And stared up at his eye.
And I’m proud to say, I hung there waitin’ to die,
Long enough to see the dumb bastard
Put down his rifle and cry.
Yes, I’m a stubborn old mule,
As stubborn as they come.
It takes a rail between the eyes
To get me up to run.
But when you have a load too tough to hold,
It’s a call for the likes of me.
And I bear it well, sure footed and determined,
Right to the rim of hell.
But what he can’t stand,
Is that I’m a bit of a man.
And, as the man, I have my pride,
And how I tried, and tried, and tried.
But, oh how glad I am that when I came to die
I was beast enough to make the bastard cry...
Yes, beast enough...
To make that bastard cry.
Friday, November 18, 2011
For more thoughts and ideas on how to cure the world and learn from historical mistakes consider these two books also: Mein Kampf - An Analysis of book one; America on Strike. Click on covers on right of this page for more information. Thank-you.
One World Ready or Not
[Some thoughts for curing the Capitalist World]
by Richard E. Noble
I read a book by a Mr. William Greider, “One World Ready or Not”. On the back cover of his book it states that he is the National Editor of the Rolling Stone. I thought that was a magazine about Mick Jagger and other horribly disfigured people who have made a success of promoting the concept of noise around the world.
I consider this book an economics book - but it is not a compilation of difficult theories. It is a vivid and insightful description of what is going on around the world, with chapter after chapter of everyday life descriptions. It is about the New Global Capitalism - the privatization of the world.
Mr. Greider’s book is a primer on getting up to speed on what is presently happening in world economics. I consider it to be very intelligent and well thought; especially for a man who I presume spent the early part of his life following the Grateful Dead - the Rolling Stone Magazine, you will remember.
When I reflect on Mr. Greider’s book one of the many things that comes to my mind is a problem that he pointed out in the conclusion.
In a world of, more or less, dedicated Capitalism where supply and demand and profit-making are the sole motivation for investment and action, how does necessary but non-profitable “good” happen?
For example, you are a Capitalist Doctor in a Capitalist world. You are riding along the highway and you stumble upon an accident. Many people are lying along side the road bleeding and injured. You quickly discover that these people have no insurance and no money to pay for the necessary supplies, never mind your expertise, training and college loan. With Capitalism and supply and demand as your guide, how do you devise a profitable system or method for their care?
Charity is not a system or method of Capitalism, it is a band aid. Charity is a notion that drains off the goodwill of Capitalism. It stands out as a flaw in the Capitalistic dogma, not as a positive attribute. Charity only becomes necessary because Capitalism has failed. Charity doesn’t make a profit. It is not a business. We can’t depend on Charity as an economic tool.
The notion that people should all be pursuing their own personal good does not help our good Samaritan dogmatic Capitalistic Doctor.
As a Capitalist he must devise some sort of rationale whereby he can gain a profit from the suffering and tragedy he has encountered.
How does Capitalism feed the hungry who have no money to buy food, even if the Capitalist can produce sufficient quantities; how does Capitalism provide Aids medication to those with no money to pay even for its manufacture? How does Capitalism provide a profitable avenue for environmental safety when clearly polluting pays? How can profit-making provide living wages to workers when providing living wages means less profit and higher prices? The list where Capitalism has traditionally provided no answers goes on and on.
In the past, governmental socialism has been the safety valve of the Capitalist World. When the going gets tough the taxpayer takes over – that’s socialism, not Capitalism.
In the United States, back in the Wilson days, when the banks kept collapsing, the government and the taxpayer stepped in with the Federal Reserve System (Banker Socialism). When the Depression struck, it was Government Socialist spending that stepped in to save the day. Even if you say it was World War II that saved the economy, it was not the killing and the destruction that saved the world from the Depression; it was the government spending on the war effort that produced the jobs, that supplied the wages, that turned around the spending, that stimulated the investment, that paid the soldiers, that built the middle class, that saved the house that George (Washington - not Bush) built.
We didn’t need World War II to save us from the Depression; we needed unlimited Government spending on a project that satisfied the moral work ethos of the people of the world. Any project would have done the trick, a pyramid or two, an aqueduct, an interstate highway system, a man on the moon.
Why can’t the project to save the world and stimulate Capitalistic spending be something morally sound; as opposed to something architectural, or industrial or totally destructive, as War?
When Europe had no money to buy products from the Capitalist world, we gave them the money.
We said that the Marshall Plan was a loan but most of the Marshall Plan money was never paid back. So, in effect, we made TVs and refrigerators – financed Europe’s reconstruction – for people and governments who could not afford to buy these products or materials.
We gave them the money to buy them; we gave them the money to manufacture their own TVs and refrigerators; pretty soon their economies were flourishing and they were selling us TVs and refrigerators. We had to start producing other things here at home to employ our own people to fill new markets from a more demanding world. I even hear Republicans today bragging on this world wide socialistic welfare project called – the Marshall Plan.
Why could this same technique not be used in curing the world of hunger or disease?
If people in Slumbovia need food, we loan (lend/lease) them the money, then sell them the food (deferred loan payback option - lOUs). Once they start eating more regularly, we loan (lend/lease) them some more money and start selling them some tractors. Pretty soon they are growing their own food and manufacturing their own tractors and we are selling them fertilizers, tractor parts and engineering expertise, and they are standing in line to buy tickets to Disney World. And all the while we are paying Henry Ford the II, 3rd. or 4th to manufacture this stuff.
Henry then gives everybody a raise at the factory and takes on more employees – just like we did in World War II. The only difference is we don’t have all the dead bodies and all the bombed out building to rebuild. Instead we start housing developments in Slumbovia. Pretty soon everybody is doing so well, we simply cancel all their debt obligations (call it a tax rebate to stimulate the trade balance, encourage consumption and new investment). The Donald moves to Slumbovia to find a new apprentice and he takes Martha Stewart with him. How can we lose?
There is a lot of world out there to be made prosperous and a lot of money to be made supplying the initial investments, the knowledge and the know how. If it works for war, and the Military Industrial Complex, why can’t it work for peace and refrigerators?
If this concept can work for refrigerators, TVs and even hula-hoops and pacman, then why can’t it work for health care, the environment, science and the betterment of mankind in general?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
If you enjoy reading earthy books about real people, I have written a number of them. Here's two that may interest you.
Click on book covers on right on this page for more information about contents, the author and how to purchase. Thanks.
My Name is Aram
By William Saroyan
By Richard E. Noble
William Saroyan who is also the author of the famous song, made immortal by Rosemary Clooney, Come on to My House wrote these great tales. He and a nephew wrote the song in their enthusiasm while on a road trip to visit an Aunt somewhere out west. Rosey Clooney added her seductive slant to the song and we got the famous million seller.
I read this book for the first time over forty years ago. I loved it and never forgot many of the stories.
As I held the book in my hand to write this review, I began relating some of the tales in it to my wife. Then I sat down and read the book again to see how good my memory was. My memory was pretty good … but not as good as the book.
This book was one among many books of short stories that have served to inspire my own writing. Until re-reading this book, I did not realize how much of this book and this writer I had incorporated into myself.
These are all true to life tales of childhood (granting poetic license) and growing up on the west coast, in Fresno, California way back when. The stories are about mom, dad, grandpa, and uncle Khosrove and the author’s unique immigrant heritage.
I grew up decades later on the East Coast in an old industrial mill town – nothing like the rural settings in this book. But other than replacing a “borrowed” car with a stolen pony, the humor and the sentiments are all universal. Today as I review this book, the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding comes to mind. The immigrant nature, the humorous relatives, the contrasting values and the crazy antics and situations brought together by life in the new country are common to the book and the movie.
Two of the stories that I never forgot are The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse and Old Country Advice to the American Traveler. A Nice Old-Fashioned Romance isn’t bad either. The only thing bad about this book is maybe you haven’t read it yet.
The writing is cleaver, entertaining, humorous and spun through with simple wisdom. In this modern copy I have, I have noticed that the punctuation is rather radical. There are no quotation marks used. Rather strange but easily readable nonetheless. I didn’t notice that 50 years ago when I read this book the first time. But there are many things quite evident today that I didn’t notice 50 years ago.
Not many people write books like this these days. Writing has become too sophisticated. There are no monsters from outer space, no demons, no devils, no spirits or ghosts. There are no serial killers, perverts or criminal insanity. Nobody eats any children in this book. No one flies on a broomstick in this book. There are no spells or even “little people.” I suppose the younger crowd would find it boring.
I have always loved it ... and still do.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I have two books that I would recommend to accompany or counter the thoughts and Ideas of Ayn Rand: "Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One" and "America on Strike" both books written by Richard Edward Noble.
Click on book covers on the right on this page for information and instructions for purchasing. Thanks.
The Virtue of Selfishness
By Richard E. Noble
Ayn Rand, I interpret to be a political propagandist for the extreme right. She was interested in philosophy and included the ideas of some philosophers in her fiction – but she was not a philosopher in my view nor in the view of my 8 volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
I have read certain of Nietzsche’s works and summaries of his ideas. I find that there are obvious similarities in style, temperament, presentation and overall superiorist attitudes between him and Rand.
Nietzsche had his superman and Rand had her super-capitalist.
Both writers are belligerent and hateful of organized religion and the common man.
Rand refers to religious thinkers as “witch doctors.”
Nietzsche is, of course, infamous for his declaration that "God is dead."
Nietzsche eventually went mad and was institutionalized. I think he was mad long before he was actually declared mad and locked away.
Rand was never declared officially mad and was not institutionalized. She was clearly suffering from delusions of grandeur and was not able to distinguish between success and intelligence. There is often very little connection between the two.
I have read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and published my own analysis of book one. His belief and confidence in the superiority and righteousness of the individual and the capitalist, rings through Rand’s written works.
He has his Arians and Krupps; once again, she has her glorified wealthy capitalists.
His flamboyant braggadocio with regards to the superior few and their right to rule is also a theme running constantly through the ranting of Rand. And the same disrespect for the “common herd” and the principles of democracy are prevalent in Rand and Mein Kampf.
Her family’s wealth was wiped out by the Russian Revolution. It is quite obvious that this event affected her psychological development. She actively joined on the bandwagon of the disgruntled exiles (White Russians and others) and pursued an anti-Red-Russia philosophy. She found much support among Russia haters and the rabid ranks of the Cold Warriors.
Although I can sympathize with some of her positions, I must take her political writing and opinions with a grain of salt and a lot of dubiousness.
She wrote political and economic fantasies that appealed to the selfish and the egotistical. Her goal was clearly to make the better-off feel comfortable with their wealth and their prejudices.
She was another of the many champions of the comfortable and powerful who ran off gallantly to defend the rights and privileges of the rich and famous. There has never been a shortage in this group of comfortable “revolutionaries.”
Her biggest mistake was the same made by the communist in her mother Russia – she attacked God and religion. This was the most daring of her positions.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
My book "America on Strike" is very important in understanding business and management, the stock market and the State and Corporate Capitalistic system we live in. After reading "Devil Take the Hindmost" you might want to consider "America on Strike." Thanks. Click on book cover to the right on this page for more information.
Devil Take the Hindmost
By Edward Chancellor
By Richard Edward Noble
This book makes it extremely clear that the stock market is a dangerous place. The author begins with the speculator and the ethics of speculation.
“Speculation is a divisive topic. Many politicians – several of them in Asia – warn that the global economy is being held hostage by speculators. In their opinion, the speculator is a parasitical figure, driven by greed and fear, who creates and thrives on financial crises … Western economists take a radically different line. They argue that speculation is fundamentally a benign force, essential to the proper functioning of the capitalist system.”
In the last paragraph of the book the author gives us his conclusion on this speculative debate.
“Speculation undermined the Bretton Woods system of fixed currencies and, more recently, it has destroyed the state managed capitalism of Japan and other Asian nations. As an anarchic force, speculation demands continuing government restrictions, but inevitably it will break and chains and run amok. The pendulum swings back and forth between economic liberty and constraint.”
That conclusion in my estimation gets a 10 on the Alan Greenspan scale of economic mumbo-jumbo. But it is standard fare from those versed in economics. After reading the book I actually understand what the author is trying to say in this self-contradictory statement. That’s a little scary, in itself.
But in truth I did not buy this book to get the author’s answers to anything. I bought it to get historical information on panics, bubbles and crises. I got a good deal of information. I’m satisfied.
I was actually looking for a book discussing U.S. panics beginning with colonial times and coming forward to the present. More than half this book discusses pre-colonial panics and countries other than the U.S. So I’m still in the market for something more specific and more detailed.
But what about investing in the stock market? What kinds of people have been involved in this enterprise? And how should an average person look at the stock market for his personal investments.
The answers for me, after reading this book are: Do not invest in the stock market. It is filled with crazies, manipulators and the clinically insane – not to mention outright gangsters and criminals. And an average person would be better off investing their life’s savings in their retarded son-in-law than giving their money to a stock broker.
The author takes his readers on a tour of the many famous speculative bubbles and manias of the past going back to the “Tulipomania” of 1630 and carrying us through the Japanese crisis of the 1980s. He even dabbles into present day derivatives and hedge funds. The book was published in 1999 so it predates the current fiasco. But this book makes it very clear that the historical information was there. Japan should have been an obvious example.
For Alan Greenspan to state before Congress that he couldn’t imagine that prominent bankers and brokers would act in such a “negligent” unprofessional manner is beyond naiveté. Alan was obviously joking. It is difficult to determine when Alan Greenspan is joking.
But Alan was not the criminal. He did nothing wrong. He did nothing right either. As J.K. Galbraith stated in many of his books, the Federal Reserve and its bosses did exactly what they should have done … nothing. If they let the bubble go until it collapsed they are blamed for the collapse. If they put on the brakes and tighten up the money in the middle of a “boom” they will be blamed from killing the growth and crippling the prosperity. For us here at home the big questions are where were the inspectors, the regulatory agencies and the Congress and the Senate with the proper rules? And even bigger question …Where was the moral conscience of all those thousands who participated in all the scamming and falsifying? We had more than an accident here. We had a moral and ethical calamity.
What this book makes clear is that what has happened has happened many times before –not on such a great a scale as today. This current speculative extravaganza was a major moral earthquake.
Galbraith said in his book Money, Whence it Came, Where it Went that the time between speculative insanities or panics is directly proportional to the time it takes for everyone to forget the last speculative bubble or panic.
Galbraith also had much the same confusing type answer as offered by Mr. Chancellor.
For the present, rules and regulations need to be put in place but as time goes on these rules or any rules will be undermined. There will then be another collapse and a new need for newer rules. Galbraith suggested a five year term for new rules and new regulators. Then all bureaus should be abolished and new ones established. In other words, the new rules must be kept ahead of the old rule breakers and manipulators. Keep changing the game.
This answer seems to indicate that the problem is endemic to the system. So we need a new system. But is that possible? And what will it be? And will it have other flaws equal to or worse than the present system?
Maybe the same system could be continued and we should concentrate on developing some better human beings.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
When you finish reading Mr. Rifkin's great book, please take a look at my book "America On Strike." Between the two you should have a good picture of what is going on in America today. Just click on "America on Strike" book cover at the right of this page.
The End of Work
By Jeremy Rifkin
By Richard E. Noble
The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin is an extraordinary work. It opens to the reader a whole new world of thought and ideas.
I read the first 100 pages with my jaw hung open in horror. Mr. Rifkin’s revelations were not above and beyond my own thinking on the subject but I had never before come to realize the full scope of the matter. I had joked in my book Hobo-ing America that all my working career, as fast as I learned a new skill I was replaced by a new method or machine. I joked that I couldn’t be retrained fast enough to keep up with those who were out to replace me.
I am also familiar with the workers’ plight here in America. I have a book of my own dealing with the history of the American Labor Movement America on Strike. So I am not naive when it comes to discussions of this sort. But all my research and background did not prepare me for what Mr. Rifkin had to reveal. I was shocked.
According to Mr. Rifkin my joke with regards to being constantly replaced and retrained was not a joke but a fact of life in the evolving new global world economy.
The point of Mr. Rifkin’s work is that the day when workers will become obsolete is appearing on the capitalist horizon – and it is not creeping along but racing towards each of us no matter what our job status.
Mr. Rifkin is not presenting a theory that may or may not happen … someday. He lists in descriptive detail all the jobs that are disappearing from the market place, never to return.
The scope of this problem is bigger than I had ever dreamed.
I have heard people suggest over and over that jobs were leaving the shores of America and would never return. But like Donald Trump, I said in my innocence, Why can’t they return. Let’s just change a few laws and incentives and make America once again an appealing spot for the steel mills, shoe and sneaker factories, textiles etc.
It never occurred to me nor was it ever explained that these jobs would not and could not return to America because they no longer existed.
Mr. Rifkin details the millions and millions of jobs that are totally disappearing due to technology, automation, advanced software, and labor saving management programs.
He points out that this is happening in all business sectors. The service sector is now on the road to job loses as great as those that have been plaguing manufacturing, construction and all other work avenues, public and private.
Jobs in management, middle management and in other once secure areas are being eliminated. No longer are jobs being picked up by the service sector or even the public sector. Everybody is cutting everywhere. They have been and will continue to do so, blindly and at their own peril and future destruction. It all seems so insane.
He carries these practical observations off into the theoretical and speculates on an inevitable semi-jobless world and how such a world could be run.
The last few chapters of this book outline his theoretical solutions to a jobless world and/or society.
I find Mr. Rifkin’s analysis of the problem and his predictions of dread for the workers of the world credible and inevitable if no action is taken to offset this realistic scenario.
His solutions to this problem I find self-contradictory and impossible. But that solutions must be offered and new roads taken in undeniable.
Every workingman in America should read this book and become aware of the true battle that is looming up before us as I write this very review.
This book was published in 1995 but it is far from outdated. It is a work that is decades ahead. Now is the time to read it and get the picture of the future in perspective. For me a large piece of a very big and confusing puzzle has just been put in place.
Buy this book and read it. You will not regret it.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
When you finish reading "Who Will Tell the People" take a look at "America on Strike" by R. E. Noble. Thanks.
Who Will Tell the People?
By William Greider
By Richard E. Noble
I have been educating myself for over forty years now. I have chosen many great professors to help me along my path to understanding, but I won’t get into that at this moment, other than to tell you about my most recent selection as professor of Civics.
In high school I had a course called Civics. I never figured out exactly what the word “Civics” meant, but I interpret the word as encompassing an explanation of the society and world currently happening around me – politically, socially, economically.
In my high school Civics class we read the daily newspapers, random magazines, and kept up on the local government issues, among other things.
In trying to understanding the modern day world –governments, societies, and general direction of the civilization – I found myself very confused. I wanted to find a professor who could get me up to speed on what is really going on in the world around me. As you know one must choose selectively because there are “so many books and so little time.” Consequently I have chosen William Greider as my “Civics” professor.
I have finished my third book by William Greider this morning, “Who Will Tell the People.” I thought that to be a wonderful title for a book. I have been asking myself that same questions on many different subjects for many years. If you have also been wondering “Who Will Tell the People,” I think I can tell you quite sincerely that one of the people who will tell the people is certainly William Greider.
It is so rewarding when you find an honest, straightforward voice in this world of obfuscation and – for lack of a better word – pure bullshit.
On Mr. Greider’s web site he calls himself an old journalistic type – but Mr. Greider is much more than a Journalist. He is an educator; he is a teacher, an instructor; he is a professor. He has his Doctorate in personal experience in the affairs of the world – that becomes obvious as you follow along behind him.
In Who Will Tell the People we learn, among many other things, how our Democracy works ... or doesn’t work.
Mr. Greider tells us how the Democracy we think we have, lines up to the Democracy we really have.
He tells us about how the laws are made and then un-made. He tells us about the lobbyists, and the lawyers and the Democrats and the Republicans and the Repubocrats – and who owns each of them.
He tells us about the money, the big businesses, the banks, the international conglomerates.
He tells us about the environment; about the military and the pentagon; about who’s in, and who’s out, and why.
At various points in reading Mr. Greider I say to myself – This guy is giving me more than I really want to know. I mean the more I know, the worse it gets. But then he throws in a suggestion, an idea, a possible solution and once again I’m thinking positively.
I am basically a skeptic and I think of the “Power of Positive Thinking” as a prescription for dilution. But you have got to have some kind of hope, even if it is farfetched, distant and on the borders of impossibility. There must be something!
Mr. Greider brings us to the brink, then pushes us off.
Then half-way down, falling into the abyss of eternal despair, we find there is a bungee cord wrapped around our waist. It isn’t much, and the discovery is a little late and maybe not totally reassuring, but it helps.
This book was published in 1992, when we were beginning to talk of “peace dividends” and cutting back on the Military Industrial Complex. Listen to what Mr. Greider was saying way back then:
“The Defense Department was planning a modest five year reduction in the Cold War mobilization ... If the U.S. defense budget were cut in half, it would still be four or five times larger than that of the next strongest nation ... The next round of demobilization would be for real: bringing home troops that had been stationed abroad since the 1950s, closing scores of domestic military bases, shutting more factories ... A few liberals introduced “conversion” bills that did little more than encourage communities and industries to plan for their post-Cold War future. Conservative thinkers concentrated meanwhile, on trying to devise substitute “threats” – Third World terrorism or nuclear proliferation – that might justify continuing the nation’s permanent war footing.”
Chapter 15 of this book is entitled “Citizen GE.” This chapter alone is worth the entire price of the book.
My tendency is to tell you myself what Mr. Greider has to say, but I couldn’t tell the tale as well or with any greater poignancy. I can only tell you to get the book and read it for yourself.
It is not that GE is any worse or better than any of the others; it is more shocking to understand that they are just one of a bunch of like-acting and similar thinking Mega-mights.
If I wanted to continue quoting from this book, this review would be one hundred pages long.
My advice is to buy Mr. Greider’s books and study them. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve only read three thus far, but I know that I am already a world ahead of where I was less than a year ago. Mr. Greider is more than “a read.” He is an education. I feel so lucky to have found such a treasure.