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56172Re: Liberalism and Marxism

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  • irvhal
    Aug 31, 2011

      I appreciate our reciprocal understanding, no less than our partial meeting of the minds, and agree that much is remiss in our countries. America and Britain alike are beset by staggering debt and unemployment, and widening disparities of wealth. America has not had anything recent comparable to England's riots, though a careful inspection of our local medias will show sporadic though increasing "wilding" episodes of gang-based violence in places as diverse as Des Moines, Chicago and Philadelphia -- the later of which has prompted a special curfew by the city's mayor.

      I regret to say that I believe most of our economic problems, and unemployment in particular, are owed to the increasing productivity of capital, as manifested by increasing automation of services and manufacturing alike -- which is to say that unemployment, notwithstanding failed government ventures to supplant arrested or falling incomes with easy credit, is structural and won't go away soon. For a most enlightening view of the problem I'd recommend reading "The Lights in the Tunnel" by Martin Ford, or a look at his website at econfuture.wordpress.com. My own view is that advanced countries will need to move towards a guaranteed minimum income. (It was, I recall, President Nixon who broached that idea in what he termed a "Family Assistance Plan" in his first term.)

      But philosophically, this paradigm shift from a labor-intensive to capital-intensive economy presents a question of Being. Heidegger forewarned of a worldview enframed or delimited by technology. And the transition from full to partial employment will present us with what I would call a crisis of leisure. The line between constructive and destructive leisure is acute, and the transition of which we speak is one of Being. Immigration or open borders, in turn, which promise employment and falsely assume the old paradigm, are a recipe for division and grievance. I'll say no more, problems being so ever more easy to see than to solve.

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