Mariner is fortunate to have among the selection from his television network provider several channels from foreign countries. Only occasionally, usually in news coverage, will there be differences in the interpretation of events. This is most often true with Aljazeera (Arab countries) and Russian Television (RT). It is least true on British television (BBC) and China Global Television Network (CGTN); The China network has a discipline similar to PBS in refraining from broadcasting controversial content. CGTN has a rich selection of western programming about western philosophy, politics, economy and culture; similarly, a lot can be learned about China’s philosophy, politics, economy and culture.
A recent broadcast of the CGTN show ‘World Insight’ had a panel of four Nobel Laureates for economics (Stiglitz, Spence, Phelps, and Pissarides). The dialogue was fascinating as these four gentlemen wandered through the world’s economic issues providing surprisingly simple concepts which could, if adopted, remove many of the seemingly unresolvable economic troubles in the world today. Of course a simple spoken concept from a Nobel Laureate does not carry much weight in a highly politicized and conflicted world.
One of the major topics was automation (Robots, as Pissarides referred to it). The German approach was used as a prospective model by which the impact on the labor force could be controlled using fair labor policies. In short, as ‘robots’ did more work, the work day became shorter for employees – some worked only three hours per day. Salary, however, did not drop. In fact, as profits rose due to automation, salaries benefitted to various degrees.
Spreading profits among workers is anathema to American Capitalism. Intentionally paring payroll overhead is de rigeuer. Stiglitz said either way, the worker receives what he wanted: free time and independence except one way the worker has no financial security and the other is financially secured.
Mariner was impressed that these four distinguished economists felt no need to incorporate political nuances of conservatism or liberalism, or theories of Keynesian or Adam Smithian economics. They were pragmatic and sought to solve economic problems – plain and simple. It was a refreshing broadcast.
It was painful afterward to refocus on the US philosophy of government advocating no minimum wage, passing right-to-work legislation which undercuts unionism, cutting government employment to weaken government union benefits and cutting aid to the marginally employed. Further, the oligarchs show no intention of sharing with the world that worked to make them wealthy.
Here’s an article from The Nation that targets cultural change among intellectuals. It claims that the wealthy snap up the progressive ideas of traditional intelligentsia and convert the ideas to the purposes of the well to do. The key reference is the ideas in a book by Daniel Dresner, ‘The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats Are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas’. The article is entitled:
‘Thought Leaders’ and the Plutocrats Who Love Them
The wealthy have taken over intellectual culture, and it is devastating progressive politics.
By Eric Alterman
For the few who linger to hear Richard Muller’s description of NOW, he provides the following argument: The Big Bang created an eternally expanding universe. Space continues to fill new voids as they are created. Time, too, expands to fill the voids. NOW is the leading edge of time expansion. Yes, mariner understands. Leave it to a theoretical physicist to make things clear. Mariner suggests a nap.
For those living in North America near the fortieth parallel and below 3,500 feet altitude, it is now time to plant vegetable gardens.