The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/ ... ning-u.htm

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)


Yes, I agree. Excellent article, thanks.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:21 am

xkcd casts his own gleam of light on the situation, at http://xkcd.com/980/
To my mind, the lower right quadrant of the green chart is particularly relevant, but the whole thing provides plenty of food for thought.

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jason » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings David, all,

It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/ ... ning-u.htm

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)

Metta,
Retro. :)


Interesting enough, Lenin argued that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism, a phase or stage of economy as opposed to merely a policy preferred by finance capital. Number 2 in his list of basic features of imperialism seems especially relevant: "the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this 'finance capital', of a financial oligarchy." The pamphlet is worth reading if you have the time.
Last edited by Jason on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:56 pm

Jason wrote:Interesting enough, Lenin argued that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism, a phase or stage of economy as opposed to merely a policy preferred by finance capital. Number 2 in his list of basic features of imperialism seems especially relevant: "the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this 'finance capital', of a financial oligarchy." The pamphlet is worth reading if you have the idea.


I disagree with Lenin, since Lenin himself was one of the biggest imperialists. The communists were intent on taking over the world by whatever means with however many lives needed to be killed for their philosophy.

A true capitalist is opposed to government intervention, opposed to state sponsored and subsidized industries (including defense). The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is the most laissez-faire capitalist and while I don't agree with everything in their platform, to their credit, they are opposed to maintaining the empire, opposed to the growth of the military-industrial-complex.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jason » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:17 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I disagree with Lenin, since Lenin himself was one of the biggest imperialists. The communists were intent on taking over the world by whatever means with however many lives needed to be killed for their philosophy.


I think you may be conflating Lenin with what took place under Stalinist Russia. The two are not analogous, in my opinion.

A true capitalist is opposed to government intervention, opposed to state sponsored and subsidized industries (including defense). The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is the most laissez-faire capitalist and while I don't agree with everything in their platform, to their credit, they are opposed to maintaining the empire, opposed to the growth of the military-industrial-complex.


It doesn't really matter what they say they're opposed to, however. Simply looking at the way things actually are, as well as they way they've been trending the past few decades, one can see that US actions, polices, and, I would argue, very economic structure in general are indeed imperialistic in the way Lenin defined it, and follow much the same pattern as Lenin laid out in in his 1916 pamphlet, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

As for the rest, I doubt deny that many libertarians have some good ideas and intentions (and I think they exact same can be said of socialists); but looking at the reality of the situation and comparing it to what Lenin and other critical theorists have said about the evolution of capitalism, I think there's reason to take their analyses seriously. That doesn't mean, of course, that I believe Lenin's analysis to be 100% correct, but I do think both Prof. Kennedy's and Lenin's ideas have merit, and are worth considering in tandem.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mindfullmom » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/ ... ning-u.htm

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)


I personally can agree with much of that but I find myself torn on it as well. Mostly I take the view of getting the US out of all those countries but then I think about all the convoluted relationships our Presidents have gotten us into over the years and I do not think it would be easy to untangle ourselves from it.

The article above may have a fatal flaw in it's reasoning that sort of sinks the whole idea though:

Basically, the United States has spent $5 trillion too much on the U.S. Department of Defense over the past 20 years -- i.e allocated a staggering $250 billion a year too much to the Pentagon that instead should have funded social programs and served as resources for other civilian needs. The egregiousness of the miscalculation is stunning: there was no reason for the U.S. to spend this extra amount on defense during this period -- the Cold War was over, and no other power represented a territorial threat to the United States, and certainly not an existential threat.


No reason? Really? That is clearly an opinion. Just because the "threat" does not wear a uniform or come in the name of a specific country, doesn't mean there's no threat. The way a threat "looks" these days is very different from any other time in history and this has changed the game. Call me naive but I'm always confused when the US is called imperialistic when we have not expanded our boarders to include new acquisitions anytime in recent history and when we are going into countries that have either continuously attacked our interests or have such atrocious human rights violations against their own people, that the majority of the population welcomes us when we get there. Maybe I am naive but I don't see that as the wrong "side" to be on. Again, I would rather us not be there at all some days but I can't see the comparison of the US to the expansionism of the British Empire and the Soviet Union.

My original questions for the occupiers still stand if anyone is interested to answer them:

So I ask,
1. Are you equally upset with the Party you most closely align with?
2. What should be the solution ie what do you want to see happen and what will satisfy everyone so that they no longer Occupy?
3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?


I do agree with you Chownah on the anarchists running the show but I didn't have any facts at the moment to back that up.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jason » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:34 am

mindfullmom wrote:1. Are you equally upset with the Party you most closely align with?


I'm an independent and don't align myself with any political party, so the question is irrelevant. I'm upset with all political parties equally. :D

2. What should be the solution ie what do you want to see happen and what will satisfy everyone so that they no longer Occupy?


The short answer is that there is no single solution, especially one that will satisfy everyone since it's such a broad movement. In addition, I agree with Matt Taibbi that right now the movement needs to grow more than it needs to be specific about what 'it' wants.

As for myself, I'd ideally like to see a radical economic transformation in which the exploitation, alienation, and commodity fetishism of the present system are gradually eliminated via a more socialized mode of production. However, at the very least, I wouldn't mind seeing the movement get behind things like single-payer, universal healthcare, taxing speculators and getting rid of the Bush tax cuts, repealing part or all of the blatantly anit-union Taft-Hartley Act, a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood, and a massive decrease in military spending for starters.

3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?


The state is beginning to feel threatened. The vast majority of the protesters have been peaceful, including the self-identified anarchists, communists, and socialists, and the vast majority of the violence that has occurred has been at the hands of police using batons, pepper-spray, and tear gas to remove occupiers from parks, college campuses, and city streets.

I do agree with you Chownah on the anarchists running the show but I didn't have any facts at the moment to back that up.


That's probably because there aren't any facts to back such an assertion. Each individual occupation is diverse and made up by different demographics. While many anarchists are certainly drawn to the occupy movement and were instrumental in getting the movement started, they don't run 'it,' nor are they all as violent as people try to paint them. Many are like author and teacher Dan Graeber, for example.
Last edited by Jason on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:44 am

mindfullmoon: You're naive.
And you don't back up your opinions with facts, which is ridiculous.
Take a clue from Jason, who presents a well-reasoned argument backed by solid research and relevant information.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:47 am

David:
Yes, military spending can be broadly understood as falling under the category of "financial", if you insist on stretching the term. But it was not the cause of the crisis.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:00 am

Military spending, by the way, is the ultimate example of wealth re-distribution. In this case, it goes to giant corporations who manufacture weapons and their support systems. Corporations which glean huge profits from government spending and then don't pay taxes.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:02 am

alan wrote:David:
Yes, military spending can be broadly understood as falling under the category of "financial", if you insist on stretching the term. But it was not the cause of the crisis.


There are multiple causes and guilty parties, but the primary culprit is the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan / the military-industrial-complex (see below).

alan wrote:Military spending, by the way, is the ultimate example of wealth re-distribution. In this case, it goes to giant corporations who manufacture weapons and their support systems. Corporations which glean huge profits from government spending and then don't pay taxes.


I agree and the military / defense allocations far outweigh the spending on other things combined. The U.S. spends close to $1 trillion per year in military / defense and this does not count indirect costs, such as "emergency" funding for the wars, care for the wounded, discretionary spending, etc.

And it is this wild-out-of-control spending that leads the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates; for the hope of preventing a Recession.

http://www.inflationomics.com/article.p ... st%20Rates (interest rates are lowered to prevent a Recession)

Oct. 7, 2001: War in Afghanistan begins
March 20, 2003: Iraq war begins

2003: Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan lowers federal reserve’s key interest rate to 1%, the lowest in 45 years.[87]


September 1–3, 2007: Fed Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, WY addressed the housing recession that jeopardizes U.S. growth. Several critics argue that the Fed should use regulation and interest rates to prevent asset-price bubbles,[158] blamed former Fed-chairman Alan Greenspan's low interest rate policies for stoking the U.S. housing boom and subsequent bust,[159] and Yale University economist Robert Shiller warned of possible home price declines of fifty percent.[160]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_c ... t_timeline
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mindfullmom » Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:54 pm

Alan - Which opinions do you want me to back up with fact?
I agree, Jason's response is very thoughtful and well laid out but he is not referencing facts, he is referencing ideas and events that he believes in.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:48 pm

mindfullmom wrote:
So I ask,
1. Are you equally upset with the Party you most closely align with?
2. What should be the solution ie what do you want to see happen and what will satisfy everyone so that they no longer Occupy?
3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?

:namaste:

Re: 1. I don't align with any party.
Re: 2. Since when does what I want matter that much? "Want" is most if not all of the problem.
Re: 3. Violence is normal, ordinary, banal (cf. Hannah Arendt's The Banality of Evil et al). Counter: you can't talk sensibly about communism/communists, anarchism/anarchists, capitalism/capitalists without practical definitions. I'd recommend you, and everyone reading this, stare with Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State & Utopia, Michael J. Sandel's Liberalism & The Limits of Justice and John Rawls' Justice As Fairness--for starters.
Daniel :heart:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:10 pm

HIPPIES

H ighly
I ntelligent
P eaceful
I nvestigating
E conomical/E nvironmental
S candals
OCCUPY EVERYTHING
https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#! ... tofProtest
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mindfullmom » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:37 pm

Thank you for answering. I asked because I am genuinely interested and you genuinely answered. Up until now I had not understood as completely as I do now.
I agree that our collective current state of affairs is in need of great reform but as to the solutions, Jason, I will respectfully agree to disagree.

In one of Retro's early posts, he referenced the Buddha's recommendations for a leader:

1. Dana: sharing with the populace; he is a benefactor in that he rules or works to give, not to take; he devotes himself to administering services and providing welfare and aid for the people to ensure their well-being, convenience and safety; he renders assistance to those in distress and difficulty and supports those who have done well.


Sammapasa: bonding the people together; he assists the people with policies that support their livelihood by, for example, providing funds from which the poor may borrow to set themselves up in commerce or start business operations, thereby eliminating an economic disparity that is so wide as to cause rifts among the people.


I think many systems of government try to uphold those principles through different welfare programs and training programs. Considering the idea that we in the US have a system that is sort of cross between a republic and a socialist government already, do you think moving to an even more socialist form of government through the policies you noted, necessitate even more government involvement, not only in limiting the corporate influences, but also in our personal lives?

For those that responded to the questions, if you don't align with any party, who have you voted for in the past?
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:01 am

cooran wrote:HIPPIES

H ighly
I ntelligent
P eaceful
I nvestigating
E conomical/E nvironmental
S candals


What about the other P ?

How about Pot smoking? :D
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:05 am

mindfullmom wrote:if you don't align with any party, who have you voted for in the past?


If there is no one decent from the major two parties to vote for, I have voted for a third-party candidate or independent, including Libertarian, Green, or Ralph Nader, etc. just to "make a statement" knowing they had no chance.

For example, in the 2004 election I couldn't vote for the war-mongering Bush nor the war-mongering Kerry, so voted for the Green Party candidate that year.

Voted for Obama in 2008.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:20 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
cooran wrote:HIPPIES

H ighly
I ntelligent
P eaceful
I nvestigating
E conomical/E nvironmental
S candals


What about the other P ?

How about Pot smoking? :D


Hello David,

Ooooops! Should have been

H ighly
I ntelligent
P eaceful

P eople

I nvestigating
E conomical/E nvironmental
S candals


with metta
Chris
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:58 am

Greetings Chris,

I was wondering where the other P went, and I'll admit... my assumption of what that other P was, happened to be a tad more risque than your's.

:tongue:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:27 am

mindfullmom wrote:
I think many systems of government try to uphold those principles through different welfare programs and training programs. Considering the idea that we in the US have a system that is sort of cross between a republic and a socialist government already, do you think moving to an even more socialist form of government through the policies you noted, necessitate even more government involvement, not only in limiting the corporate influences, but also in our personal lives?


You've confused popular politics with actual moral-political philosophy.

Socialism: the moral-political philosophy that claims equality as the basic ideal and justifies coercion insofar as it promotes equality (developed by the Ancient Greeks, most notably Plato, and revived by Marx & Lenin).

Republicanism: a.k.a, civic humanism, where the state is secured form the blows of fortune by its (male) citizens' devotion to its well-being. They should take turns ruling and being ruled, be always prepared to fight the republic, and limit their private possessions, is considered the most serious threat to the republic. Such men should possess a wholly secular virtu because corruption, in the form of excessive attachment to private interest, is valued the most serious threat to the republic (developed by the Ancient Romans and revived and further developed by Machiavelli, James Harrington, Montesquieu; it was further modified by British & Continental philosophers, who strongly influenced founding fathers like Jefferson and Adams).

Republicanism, properly defined, is clearly a "lesser evil" than socialism, properly defined.

The proper name for what you're aiming at is Welfare Liberalism: In contradistinction to classical liberalism (what we now call libertarianism,cf. Locke, Nozick et al), where constraints on liberty are viewed as positive acts that prevent people from doing what they otherwise could with two corollaries: (1) failing to help those in need does not restrict their liberty (2) protection (by the state) is minimal (a "night watchman" only). Welfare Liberalism (cf. T.H. Green, Rawls et al), on the other hand, contends that constraints on liberty are negative acts that prevent people from doing what they otherwise could with two corollaries: (1) Failing to help the needy restricts their liberty (2) the justification of coercion is extended to include requiring a guaranteed social minimum and equal opportunity (don't confuse this last corollary with socialism proper).

So, what does any of this have to with the Buddha-Dhamma? :popcorn:

mindfullmom wrote:For those that responded to the questions, if you don't align with any party, who have you voted for in the past?

Why is it important for you to know this?
Daniel :heart:
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