Skip to main content


Showing posts from August 28, 2011

token time in the moronic inferno

There’s a passage in Control, John A. Mills history of behavioralism in America, that strikes me as a key to American capitalism as it goes through the autoimmune disorder that is so rapidly destroying the middle class. Because behavioralism did not have a place for the mind, it was very dependent on experiments on animals, where one could supposedly see everything – such as the rats in the maze work that was so popular in American universities from the 30s until the 70s. It is from work with chimpanzees, according to Mills, that token economics developed into the ultimate control: “Lindsley also conducted a study with Azrin on the effects of reinforcement on cooperation between children.47 They reported that cooperative behavior could be conditioned and extinguished without any verbal instruction regarding the tasks from the experimenters. Thus their study suggested that cooperation could be learned for the sake of reward, without recourse to more complex explanat

Two cheers for industrial policy!

Jon Gertner’s NYT mag piece on Manufacturing and (oh so scary!) industrial policy gets it. And, incidentally, it summarizes the guru of Obamanomics, ‘neo-liberal’ Larry Summers, rather beautifully: “As the former White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers put it, America’s role is to feed a global economy that’s increasingly based on knowledge and services rather than on making stuff.” Jargon over objects, this is the echt neo-liberal style. Gertner doesn’t reference the source, but I imagine it was the Lizza piece on Summers in the New Yorker that contained all the information you needed to know that Obama’s administration was set on fail, two years ago. The funniest remark of the Obama four year term so far came in this article from Summers: “Summers was equally doubtful of the idea that fairness required the government to bail out every struggling industry. He said, “The point that some of you made is one that, frankly, a number of the President’s more political advi