Friday 9 April 2021

We Still Haven't Found What We're Looking For (With Apologies to U2)

The Gods That Failed.

We studied the dialectic
Read the whole of ‘Capital’
So we could follow you
So we could follow you

How we shouted
How we scrawled
Painted slogans on city walls
On prison walls
Proof we had followed you

But, we still didn’t find what we’re looking for
And we still haven’t found what we’re looking for

When they put him on a train
Like a deadly bacillus strain
We didn’t care at all
Knowing he’d end the war

And he spoke for the cause of angels
But his plans were the work of devils
So many comrades died
Building his perfect dream

We sure hadn’t found what we’re looking for
And we still haven’t found what we’re looking for

We believe in the Revolution
When all causes bleed into one
Bleed into one
With peace and freedom reigning

All bonds broken
All chains lost
But not at all
Not at all costs
Giving up on “human”
For “Humanity”.

That won’t help us to find what we’re looking for
And we still haven’t found what we’re looking for
No, we still haven’t found what we’re looking for
No, we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

Chris Trotter.

This parody was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 9 April 2021.


John Hurley said...

There's a village hidden deep in the valley
Among the pine trees half forlorn
And there on a Sunny morning
Little Jimmy Brown was born
All the chapel bells were ringing
In the little valley town
And the song that they were singing
Was for baby Jimmy Brown
Then the little congregation
Prayed for guidance from above
"Lead us not into temptation
Bless this hour of meditation
Guide him with eternal love"
There's a village hidden deep in the valley
Beneath the mountains high above
And there, twenty years thereafter
Jimmy was to meet his love
All the chapel bells were ringing
Was a great day in his life
'Cause the song that they were singing
Was for Jimmy and his wife
Then the little congregation
Prayed for guidance from above
"Lead us not into temptation
Bless oh Lord,…
That's the design of the theme park that is life.
As Dr Jones asked me "is there someone in your life that you would die for?"
If not for TV documentary the world is full of imaginings.
Reading books or listening is (almost) as good as movies. How many people read Lord of the Rings numerous times versus went to the movie numerous times?
The world economy is is part of the world's ecosystem (not vice versa).
The participants in the economy are dealt hands. If one lot is bringing in migrants that will add stimulus but (ultimately) that possibilities are diluted since resources are fixed.

greywarbler said...

It is good that you can find new things to discuss to help us think about what we need to look for and do if we set our minds to it Chris. By perspicacity you think we will get 'there' and you shine a bright light on what we ought to know, and query how we can deal with it now and very possibly come out successful, into a better place. And we continue going forward, checking backward, and feeling our way towards a possible golden future.

I found this in a genteel women's book of Uplifting Thoughts and dried flower recipes. Set against all the adverse I pass on this cheery verse to you.

Supreme he stands among the flowers
And only marks Life's sunny hours.
For him dull days do not exist-
The brazen-faced old optimist.

Sundial Inscription

greywarbler said...

That is a great song John Hurley. A romanticised version of life though, a bit airbrushed.

Here is Edith Piaf, who came from low beginnings, singing her heart out as 'the little sparrow' along with her fond fellow musicians Les Compagnons de la Chanson. I like the end of the chorus - Protection, tendresse, amour.

Village au fond de la vallée
Comme égaré, presqu'ignoré
Voici qu'en la nuit étoilée
Un nouveau-né nous est donné
Jean-François Nicot il se nomme
Il est joufflu, tendre et rosé
A l'église, beau petit homme
Demain tu seras baptisé
Une cloche sonne, sonne
Sa voix, d'écho en écho
Dit au monde qui s'étonne
C'est pour Jean-François Nicot
C'est pour accueillir une âme
Une fleur qui s'ouvre au jour
À peine, à peine une flamme
Encore faible qui réclame
Protection, tendresse, amour

For those objecting to learning Maori, is French more acceptable, more 'la haute societe'? Europe is more cosmopolitan than we in our small-minded enclave. Yes, small but NZ was developing a culture and lived more simply while still wanting to widen our experiences. The WW2 surely did that and brought Europeans and other cultures to our midst. But now we spend up, to be up to world standard and are letting the world in with the desire to have atheir money. Our way of life and economy has been largely abandoned for the benefit of just one side of the population and many have seen their jobs disappear and wages decline in the process. It is another time of the Luddites who were made redundant along with their skills and ability to make a living. What we have now is not normal immigration, it is a virtual invasion; we object to the numbers, their overbearing technical hegemony, and notice the questionable success.

I feel sorry that my grandfather was part of a similar intrusion. The Christian spread of the Word came with the westerners to the Pacific but also their new diseases. My grandfather was a ship's engineer for the Missions to the Islands which at each port left sickness behind, many died. The people wished they would not come, they were not welcome, but the more disease, the more visits with medical supplies for the natives who were so sickly! My grandfather fell sick and died on one trip and was buried at sea in the Pacific.

greywarbler said...

The Socialists put NZ's experience from their observation.

International Socialist Organisation Aotearoa

In 1984, a snap election was called by National Prime Minister Robert Muldoon. His third term government was growing increasingly unpopular with the public, the economy was in a so-called crisis and the seas of change were on the horizon. The Labour Party campaign ran on social, anti-nuclear, and Treaty of Waitangi issues. Their manifesto and campaigning had no real mention of the brutal economic reform that would be forced on the population. In fact, many candidates had little insight into economics, something the right was able to use against any lingering left-wing doubts in MPs minds.

In the background of all this political turmoil, Treasury had been flooded with Chicago School economists and business elites. Tired of being ignored by Muldoon and having to compete with the Ministry of Works for attention, and helped by the Business Roundtable lobby group, Treasury set about its plan to open up New Zealand’s economy to the free market. Going behind the government’s back in a pretty unconstitutional move, Treasury had been espousing their ideas to Labour MPs. Unfortunately for the public, one MP took these ideas hook, line and sinker: Roger Douglas.

Once the election was won by Labour, Douglas, with his handbook from Treasury, acted swiftly. This economic experiment, with theories never tried let alone proven anywhere else, was forced on the public as the only answer to New Zealand’s economic troubles. In fact, this was the only plan ready to go and had a squad of cheerleaders to chant its virtues. If time had been taken to consider alternatives, New Zealand could have avoided a lot of social and economic harm.

With lightning pace, financial deregulation was rolled out and New Zealand was opened up to the free market. This set the stage for massive spending cuts on social services, the introduction of GST, personal and corporate tax rate reduction, and relaxing of labour laws. State assets (banks, infrastructure, communication etc.) were converted to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), run as businesses ready for sale, then partly or wholly sold for short-term gain. Education reform on all fronts, including the introduction of student fees. Redundancies were high, as well as the newly minted CEOs’ pay. All of this was done with no regard to the real life social consequences.
The Fourth Labour Government’s Launch of Neoliberalism
Keith Davies
17 March 2020

Seems accurate to me.

John Hurley said...

I know something you don't Chris Trotter
This is the system that bred Brenton Tarrant

John Hurley said...

This link

Jens Meder said...

With all these words as above apparently not clarifying anything essential (?), it is time to be reminded of the basic reality which just cannot be evaded by any functioning society, which is that without profitable capitalism there cannot be any prosperity.

Since the extreme economic power concentration under the opposites of plutocratic capitalism and state monopoly capitalism are both depriving a substantial part or even all of the population of direct participation in capitalism through capital ownership -

and our social democratic welfare capitalism does not seem to improve that situation and may become unsustainable when our have-nots increasingly rely on welfare hand-outs instead of their own wealth ownership creation -

then is not the obviously most promising way into the future through a systematic effort towards "people's capitalism", defined by at least a minimally meaningful level of personal (retirement) capital ownership (perhaps $300 000 at present?) by all citizens eventually ?

Isn't it illogical if we accept that all citizens should be housed adequately, yet resist or oppose the effort to achieve the ownership potential by them ?

greywarbler said...

Jens Meder prosperity, wellbeing amongst all the people and the money system don't go together. You refer to housing; if capitalism wanted people to be part of its great system it would find a way for citizens to become homeowners. It doesn't, so it hasn't. Capitalism feeds into the addicting part of the brain; the wealthy become obsessed with gaining more money and holdings - they want to scoop it all up. Always the same. Oil and water, money will separate people in a society into rich and poor. Or another view, it's like wine okay and healthy if you control your intake carefully, but capitalism is about growth and excess.

If the capitalist system was going to work well for all, it would be seen plainly in the living conditions and habits of people around us. These are not good for many, and there are looming trends, environmental, the loss of empathy and community; plus the effect and decimation of human society and culture by the new technology.

There needs to be urgent awakeness by enough people with intelligence, gumption and respect for our humanity to change the settings presently around us. This government is making sterling efforts like Sisyphus, and if they don't get kneecapped by smug people like you, they may achieve what he never did and push the rock to the hilltop and drop it to the other side. It won't be easy, but then humans have sparks of practical intelligence mixed with kindness that enables amazing things to be done, even sacrificing themselves for others sometimes.

greywarbler said...

Here is a comment from Ad on The Standard about capitalism's success in East Asia for Jens Meder to read and then might like to mould into your argument Jens.

David George said...

Jens: 'without profitable capitalism there cannot be any prosperity."

Yes, seems to be the case, certainly, at the most basic level capital is the result of surplus and so is prosperity. Reminds me of this one from Immanuel Kant “The light dove, in free flight cutting through the air the resistance of which it feels, could get the idea that it could do even better in airless space."

Jens Meder said...

greywarbler - capitalism is only the physical process of saving or creating a surplus for spending on, or investing in something else than immediate "hand-to-mouth" consumption, and cannot "want" anything by itself without being practiced or used by people.

Greywarbler, can you describe us please, how to build a proper house more substantial than just a wind shelter or cave dwelling - without capitalism, i.e without creating (saving) the wealth for building or buying it ?

If you cannot do it, perhaps you have another example of anything achieved without needing a "surplus" to finance it ?

And please be aware, that I strongly support this government for having introduced the NZ Super Fund contributions and KiwiSaver, and that I predict that National or any other party will not be able to oust Labour without introducing even stronger systematic savings than what Labour has achieved so far.

And don't you know that a 20% compulsory (retirement) capital savings rate raised Singapore from a poor "3rd World" ex-colony into the prosperous "1st World" within 1 generation ?

Capitalism cannot directly work well for those not wanting to practice it, and without getting everyone to participate in personal wealth ownership creation, the socio-economic split into Haves and Have-Nots is inevitable and natural.

Is it really intelligent, kind - and selflessly honest - to resist participation in capitalism while demanding to share the full benefits of it ?

Geoff Fischer said...

"Painted slogans on city halls
On prison walls"?

sumsuch said...

Well, you, Corbyn or Sanders would do. It aint mystical.

sumsuch said...

Well, you, Corbyn or Sanders would do. It aint mystical.

greywarbler said...

Jens I won't bother with discussing anything more with you. You seem to be permanently set on your present plaint. There are so many things impingeing on our human lives these days and I should not try and pry you off the rock of dogma that you cling to like a limpet. (You will notice that I have spelt impingeing wrong. I have decided that impinging is silly spelling so have changed it. What a rebel I am. You could try cutting loose, it might be freeing for you.)

Jens Meder said...

So greywrbler, why don't you want to agree with the basic fact, that without capitalism (saving and investment) we would have nothing apart from what nature has made available for us ?
Yet can you deny, that the natural result of deliberately not saving for reserves and investment is a poor have-not - even as a hard and good income earning worker?

What evidence or theory is there to show that as untrue or irrelevant ?

greywarbler said...

Jens - one more. I think that in the dark ages of last week or so i said that we used to give young people a stake in the capitalist world. There was an affordable loan for first home buyers etc. The capitalists couldn't commit to carrying this forward and it all got wiped. That is why you are bleating to get it back. The poor old sheep in NZ can't even find a place to stand and grow wool because the capitalists have altered the market and people are not buying wool carpets, both warm and fire-resistant. This is the way of capitalism. Talking different things out of both sides of its mouth.

Saving for reserves means less consumerism, and having decent wages that enable choice with discretionary money, and receiving insufficient interest to match inflation, and that interest being subject to tax as well. Phfft for saving say the capitalists, that's an old Scrooge's tale for the brainwashed ordinary folks.

The heart of capitalism the USA doesn't bother about saving, it just QEs and is in debt to the extent :
$23.3 trillions
What is the current U.S. National Debt amount? The current U.S. debt is $23.3 trillions as of February 2020. Go on to the dynamic meter clocking the latest at -

Capitalism can play with debt and finance because it has cut its strings to being limited to real resources as collateral to itself, and soars like a weather balloon used to, above the world and now investors at the top of the money tree have gone into space, and Gates is talking about the Sun. And you are coming out with your primary school ideas about money.
You won't hear any more from me in answer to you. Remember money depends on finance, and our finance is with free markets etc, dependent on international finance, and the values set by it, and it is a closed system that has to be pumped up regularly so the balloon will keep floating. And ordinary people are trying to extract themselves from the complete control under the trickle-down theory still, that Treasury and Douglas et al tied us into back in 1984. That is how I see it, and your ideas bear no relevance to reality.

Jens Meder said...

Fair enough, greywarbler.
So it is time for you to come up with some positive ideas about how to rectify all those deplorable situations.
What is your vision of a better or an ideal society?

greywarbler said...

Jens I'm not interested in presenting a cohesive model for people to break down, and argue about at leisure or with savage impatience. I'm interested in the way we go about society which has the big effect of putting hard edges on society that are too rigid without necessity for that, most of the time.

Also I am interested in outcomes and think we should work back from them, understand why we have poor outcomes to contend with, and look at where systems and plans should be improved and make sure that the neediest people benefit first.

Just bringing up pictures of utopia and bunches of theories with graphs and projections to back them up - they have lost their charm, and my respect for people who live by them and use them to back reprehensible systems of behaviour.

greywarbler said...

Also Jens referring to this - So greywrbler, why don't you want to agree with the basic fact, that without capitalism (saving and investment) we would have nothing apart from what nature has made available for us ?

It is obvious that capitalism has been a good tool for development and enabled advances that would not have occurred without it or something similar. The problem is that the tool becomes the master. I refer to John Christopher's stories of the Prince in Waiting where the young man was firmly set on modernising and changing his society which the people did not want. He had to leave his country and settled elsewhere but the development idea, the new machinery, the new science remained as his main driver throughout his life.

Artist Man Ray had an amazing imagination to produce intriguing art works and thought outside 'the envelope' and noticed how hard it is to control our obsessions, such as that with machines and money. I don't know the answer to how we do things better, but being more humble and restrained in our beliefs and obsessions, and trying to understand ourselves might be better than devoting ourselves to becoming part of the incontinent dreams of accumulated capital. I think that Man Ray, not his given name, was Jewish. What their thinkers have added to society about what life is, is very thoughtful and heart-felt after their bitter history, such as:

The complicated engines manufactured by men demand, if one really wants to use them, much calm. Ever since our love for machines replaced the love we used to have for our fellow man, catastrophes proceed to increase.
Man Ray

Jens Meder said...

But greywarbler, since without capitalism we would live in serious poverty, don't you think we would have a more egalitarian and fair society without have-nots, if society insisted on universal participation in a basic (long term) wealth ownership creative savings rate, which for welfare beneficiaries would be built into their benefits ?

One universally compulsory measure in the interest of a more egalitarian society all modern countries have already in the compulsory education system, to prevent the growth of underprivileged illiterates.

Should not the same ethics apply also to prevent the growth of property-less have-nots?