new-economics

vox.com
"Neoliberalism" isn’t an empty epithet. It’s a real, powerful set of ideas.
The word captures something crucial about the faction that took over the Democratic Party after Reagan.
By Mike Konczal

n economic circles, however, “neoliberalism” is most identified with an elite response to the economic crises of the 1970s: stagflation, the energy crisis, the near bankruptcy of New York. The response to these crises was conservative in nature, pushing back against the economic management of the midcentury period. It is sometimes known as the “Washington Consensus,” a set of 10 policies that became the new economic common sense.

These policies included reduction of top marginal tax rates, the liberalization of trade, privatization of government services, and deregulation. These became the sensible things for generic people in Washington and other global headquarters to embrace and promote, and the policies were pushed on other countries via global institutions like the International Monetary Fund. This had significant consequences for the power of capital, as the geographer David Harvey writes in his useful Brief Introduction to Neoliberalism. The upshot of such policies, as the historical sociologist Greta Krippner notes, was to shift many aspects of managing the economy from government to Wall Street, and to financiers generally.

10

#BodegaStrike: On February 2, 2017, Yemeni business owners across New York closed 1,000 bodegas and grocery stores from 12:00pm to 8:00pm in response to the Trump administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order. This shutdown was a public show of the vital role these grocers and their families play in New York’s economic and social fabric. The community organized a rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn to pray together and share stories of how the Muslim ban has affected their families. 

This was one of the greatest demonstrations of solidarity, love and positivity that I have ever seen. The energy was electric and contagious, I found myself smiling uncontrollably and having so much fun. I hope these photos show that Yemeni Americans are peaceful loving people who deserve to be given a chance at life in this country. 

3

“In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries many middle-class women had relationships with each other which included passionate declarations of love, nights spent in bed together sharing kisses and intimacies, and lifelong devotion, without exciting the least adverse comment. … Lillian Faderman’s book Surpassing the Love of Men details innumerable such friendships between women which met with such social approval that a woman could cheerfully write to the male fiancé of the woman she loved, saying that she felt exactly like a husband towards her and was going to be very jealous. … It is not the existence of love between women that needs explaining but why women were permitted to love then in a way which would encounter fierce social disapproval now. … Faderman explains that women’s same-sex friendships came to be seen as a threat in the late nineteenth century as the women’s movement developed to challenge men’s dominance and new social and economic forces presented middle-class women with the possibility of choosing not to marry and be dependent on men. She sees the sexologists who classified and categorised female homosexuality, including within it all passionate friendships, as having played a major role in discouraging love between women.”
Sheila Jeffreys, The Spinster and Her Enemies

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#BodegaStrike: On February 2, 2017, Yemeni business owners across New York closed 1,000 bodegas and grocery stores from 12:00pm to 8:00pm in response to the Trump administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order. This shutdown was a public show of the vital role these grocers and their families play in New York’s economic and social fabric. The community organized a rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn to pray together and share stories of how the Muslim ban has affected their families. 

This was one of the greatest demonstrations of solidarity, love and positivity that I have ever seen. The energy was electric and contagious, I found myself smiling uncontrollably and having so much fun. I hope these photos show that Yemeni Americans are peaceful loving people who deserve to be given a chance at life in this country. 

anonymous asked:

"Abolishing the family" doesn't mean killing moms, dads and their kids, right? Intellectually, whatever. But we need to leave people who are happy with something the fuck alone.

Oh no, absolutely not, we don’t advocate anyone killing anyone there. “Abolishing the nuclear family” just means abolishing the setup as a dominant social institution. Like how conservatives always talk about “the family being the base of society” – they mean nuclear families, and that’s what capitalist society essentially expects of all of us. Two adults, one-to-three kids, quaintly living in whitewashed suburbia paying their own bills, finding community mainly only in each other, and upholding traditional gendered division of labor (cis/heteronormativity pretty much always implied). Obviously not every family fits neatly into that box, but it’s still an institutional expectation created by the capitalist economic system. Where it isn’t explicitly stated to be the “default setup” for humanity, it’s implicitly stated in dominant media. We just want the pressures of the institution gone and people more free to take on communal living, goals accomplished through a new socialist economic system. From there, nuclear families should, by all accounts, be free to live in peace just like the rest. Like @class-struggle-anarchism commented on this post, “abolish the compulsory nuclear family” is probably a more accurate statement of what we want to see.

-Daividh

Above all, we must remember the black worker was the ultimate exploited; that he formed that mass of labor which had neither wish nor power to escape from the labor status, in order to directly exploit other laborers, or indirectly, by alliance with capital, to share in their exploitation. To be sure, the black mass, developed again and again, here and there, capitalistic groups in New Orleans, in Charleston and in Philadelphia; groups willing to join white capital in exploiting labor; but they were driven back into the mass by racial prejudice before they had reached a permanent foothold; and thus became all the more bitter against all organization which by means of race prejudice, or the monopoly of wealth, sought to exclude men from making a living.

It was thus the black worker, as founding stone of a new economic system in the nineteenth century and for the modern world, who brought civil war in America. He was its underlying cause, in spite of every effort to base the strife upon union and national power.

That dark and vast sea of human labor in China and India, the South Seas and all Africa; in the West Indies and Central America and in the United States — that great majority of mankind, on whose bent and broken backs rest today the founding stones of modern industry — shares a common destiny; it is despised and rejected by race and color; paid a wage below the level of decent living; driven, beaten, prisoned and enslaved in all but name; spawning the world’s raw material and luxury — cotton, wool, coffee, tea, cocoa, palm oil, fibers, spices, rubber, silks, lumber, copper, gold, diamonds, leather — how shall we end the list and where? All these are gathered up at prices lowest of the low, manufactured, transformed and transported at fabulous gain; and the resultant wealth is distributed and displayed and made the basis of world power and universal dominion and armed arrogance in London and Paris, Berlin and Rome, New York and Rio de Janeiro.

Here is the real modern labor problem. Here is the kernel of the problem of Religion and Democracy, of Humanity. Words and futile gestures avail nothing. Out of the exploitation of the dark proletariat comes the Surplus Value filched from human beasts which, in cultured lands, the Machine and harnessed Power veil and conceal. The emancipation of man is the emancipation of labor and the emancipation of labor is the freeing of that basic majority of workers who are yellow, brown and black.

—  W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1935, p.15-16
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Lobster, The Poor Man’s Meal

Today lobster is perhaps the ultimate symbol of high class cuisine. Typically, common people don’t go into a restaurant and order a lobster like one would order a burger and fries, but back in the day lobster used to be a staple food for the lowest of the low.  In colonial New England during the 17th and 18th centuries lobster was so common the English colonists could easily go down to the shore and bring back basketfulls of lobster.  For many lobster mean’t survival as early New England colonists lived a poor existence that teetered on the edge of disaster.  The Native Americans typically used lobster as fertilizer for their crops, a practice which the Massachusetts Bay Colonists picked up as well.

By the 18th century, lobster had gained a reputation as a food for the lowest of the low.  The only people who ate lobster where those who had no choice in the matter; soldiers, criminals, slaves, indentured servants, and those who could afford to eat nothing better.  It was even quite common for New Englanders to feed their livestock and pets lobster because it was so cheap. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, lobster was very popular as a cat food. In the early 18th century indentured servants in Massachusetts rebelled against their masters and took them to court over maltreatment; they were being fed too much lobster.  As a result a law was passed which stipulated that a master could only feed his indentured servants lobster at most 3 times a month.

The lobster’s reputation as a disgusting bottom feeder and poor mans meal began to change after the American Civil War.  It was then that railroad companies began to serve lobster on their passenger trains.  Since only New Englanders knew what lobster was, most Americans traveling the rails had little idea of lobster’s reputation.  To them, it was a yummy and delicious food.  Soon its popularity spread across the country, then all over the world.  Eventually, gourmet chefs were finding new ways to cook and serve the delectable crustacean.  As demand rose, so too did supply, until eventually lobster became scarce compared to earlier times.  In the 19th century, a five or six pound lobster was considered small. Today lobster is often priced 8 or 9 dollars a pound.  

The rise in popularity of lobster caused a scarcity in lobster, which eventually transformed lobster from a poor mans dinner into gourmet cuisine.  In New England, the stigma still stuck as lobster was still cheap, and a survival food throughout the Great Depression and World War II. During World War II, lobster was one of the few foods that was not rationed, so New Englanders of all classes enjoyed it, thus dealing the last blow to lobsters negative reputation.  

One of the best-known proponents of degrowth, French philosopher and economist Serge Latouche, says that the movement is aimed primarily at promoting a shift away from the pursuit of “growth for growth’s sake”.

It would actually be better to speak of “agrowth” instead of degrowth, just as one speaks of atheism, he believes.

Degrowth supporters call for a controlled and rational decrease in consumption and production, in a way that respects the climate, ecosystems and human beings themselves.

Nevertheless, Latouche stresses that degrowth is not a concrete alternative, but rather a matrix of multiple alternatives. Obviously, any concrete proposal or counterproposal is both necessary and problematic, he adds.

—  An Argentine Perspective on Degrowth - Upside Down World
Earth's Dimensional Shift

Part of this chaotic phase is the simple result of the shift from one dimension of consciousness to another. As Earth and humanity move from 4th dimensional consciousness to 5th dimensional consciousness — which is outside the constraints of time and space as you collectively perceive them — there is a tension between the old world and the new world. You are right in the midst of this.

As more and more people experience paradigm shifts driven by sudden leaps in spiritual understanding, the old world is undermined. The new world with its new cultural, political and economic presuppositions has not yet blossomed, so you are in a kind of no-person’s land where the old views no longer work, but the new views have not yet come into usable expression. So this is one reason for the difficulties you are experiencing in this dimensional shift.

But there is another more insidious element at play here as well. There are vested interests that wish the old world of domination and control to continue, and they are using every means at their disposal to insure it.

The type of control we speak of is so pervasive and so much a part of the fabric of your society that it is often overlooked — which is exactly what those who wish to control you work toward. There is no one person or group of persons responsible for this type of control. It comes from many directions and sources. It comes from sources you might never suspect including religious, political and economic institutions. But the attempts to control you do not end here. Many of the manipulative elements in your world are also coming from interdimensional and intergalactic interference.

But regardless of their source, the days, so to speak, for those who are trying to control your destiny for their own selfish ends are numbered. The shift from 4th dimensional consciousness to 5th dimensional consciousness cannot be stopped any more than the dawn of a new day can be avoided. The evolution of consciousness on your Earth and of Earth, herself, is in the midst of a dynamic shift and you are a vital part of it.

The Hathors - Tom Kenyon

Greetings studyblr folks!
  • My name is Andu and I’ve been lurking on the studyblr community for quite a while until I decided to start participating actively. It would be amazing if I could make new friends, continue benefitting from the pristine blogs I’ve been following as well as share my experience in hope of giving back to the community.  
  • Some info about me: 
    • I’m 20/Romanian studying in the US
    • I study Economics with a minor in Math and Critical Theory, and I continue to take courses in WGSS and History
  • My biggest goal is to be able to finish my degree with decent-to-high grades overall so that I can move on to a PhD. For that I need sufficient motivation and discipline, which I find in high supply in this community! Keep going strong guys!
  • I have chosen to study Economics because I believe it shapes the way we perceive our reality. My biggest theory interests are 1. finding effective means to describe the state of our economic being today and 2. using past debates to inform an alternative past capitalism. If you are another Econ student/grad or simply interested, I would love to talk more about it; just give me a PM :) 

Some studyblrs that have motivated me all throughout college! Thank you so much! 

@studyign, @athenastudying, @journalsanctuary, @areistotle, @zeestudies, @bookmrk, @ravnclaw, @caffeinestudying, @intellectys, @focusign, @always-studyiing, @studyblr, @caffestudy, @studypetals, @hayley-studies, @studyquill, @briellestudies, @lycheestudy, @thecoffeedesk, @isabella-study, @golightlystudies, @scholarly, @paperandcaffeine, @calmingstudies, @neureo, @simmonestudies, @aestudier, @studyhardlivebetter, @stvdybuddies

If you’re a studyblr please like or reblog! I’ll follow back :) 

anonymous asked:

Hi! I read your analysis of the political situation in Poland and I wanted to ask you: since Poland has lived under communism, could you maybe paint a picture of pros and cons of that for our Bernie-bros "friends"?! Because I don't think they ever read a description of an actual socialist or communist regime (not the manifesto, but an actual historical, real life representation). Thank you so much in advance and please take your time with the answer, doesn't have to be today, no rush

Pros… well they weren’t many, but cons were! this is gonna be a very long post. 

Pos…

1. Everybody had a job. Everybody. If you were an adult wandering down the streets during the work hours, the police had the right to stop you and ask why you aren’t at work. The fact that there was basically no unemployment, gave people the financial security they needed. The fact that due to the shortage of products people were unable to spend their money in a way they wanted is another story. 

2. Everything was state owned, (that actually also classifies as a con, but I’ll get to that later), so institutions like universities too. That implied that you didn’t have to pay to go to uni and actually that allowed to even out the chances for people from the rural areas to climb the social ladder. The motion that universities should be free of tuition fees prevailed to this day. Some time ago, the government was thinking about introducing tuition fees for the most popular and prestigious faculties, like law or medicine but the idea received so much backslash that the government retracted from introducing them, which is I think fair in a way, since I pay taxes that go to sustain roads and prisons, I don’t mind that some of the amount goes to unis. In fact, I’d pay even more if I knew that more of my tax money were allocated to unis. 

3. Things like universal health care were a given. Everybody had the access to a hospital or a doctor and that notion is very deeply rooted in the society to this day. The outcome is that today in Poland, nobody dies because they can’t afford health care or medicine. Some of the meds are even refunded by the state now. 

Cons. 

1. Everybody had a job. That means, that people were forcefully employed even if their job position was not necessarily lucrative or contributing to the finances of the company. So it resulted in people going to work and doing nothing for 8 hours, standing around the whole day, or drinking on the job. Yes. You didn’t have to have any qualifications to get a job, so when the system changed those unqualified people who were not able to land a job, because suddenly the state owned companies where they worked collapsed and they didn’t even have any real skills needed in a new economic system.

2. Everything was state owned. So, everything was either over-funded and they were wasting money or underfunded and they were not developing the branches that should be developed in order for the country to thrive. This brings us to the third point of the…

3. …centrally planned economy. And that implied a few things: First, the lack of the financial discipline within the companies - that negligence actually left us with huge debts. At some point, to give the economy a kick, we had to borrow money from the Western countries, which we didn’t pay off until 2012 (SIC!). What is more, people running the companies were thinking along the lines of “the state will give me money anyway, so why should I care about optimizing the production to save some, right?”. Then, a centrally planned economy makes the economic system not flexible and adaptable to the changing factors, but still we mostly exported to USSR, which was also a centrally planned economy back then, so those guys could work things out between themselves if the production levels needed to be adjusted. Another effect of this, was the fading away of entrepreneurship as people were actually unable to set up their own companies with their own capital, that’s why when we transitioned in 1989, some “businessmen” even when they set up their own companies, actually did a very poor job of managing their companies, because they were not used to functioning in an open market economy with the state that actually requires you to pay taxes. 

4. The lack of a sense of responsibility for a country as a shared good or value in its own right. It was always someone else’s responsibility, so I could vandalize the bus stop, because it didn’t belong to me. It was state owned. I didn’t  have to care about not throwing litter to the ground because why should I care about a space that I share with other citizens? For example, facilities like sewage plant didn’t even existed, the whole country was just dumping their waste into the rivers, because who would think about the environment??  This country was not ours anyway, so… That approach actually transposed to this day, and while there are more and more people who feel that shared responsibility, and we definitely have more sewage plants now, there are still many ,many people who think that they don’t have to care, because for many many years it was like that, and that left them with the sense of powerlessness that does not necessarily motivate them to do something for the community they live in and change their lives for the better. or idk, manifest their need for change by going to the polls for example? 

5. When we were under the communist rule, we were under the wings of USSR and while we did not succumb fully to them, still their presence in Poland was palpable. For example, most of the produced goods were exported to Russia so at some point the shops looked like that: 

and people were living off the food stamps, like these: 

These are the food stamps for meat. In the middle, you have the space to fill in your name and address, but that didn’t really mean that you’d get the meat if you went to the shop. Because it simply wasn’t delivered to the shop or if it was you had to queue for long hours with no guarantee that  they had enough and when you finally make it to the counter, you’d get your portion: 

This is actually a pic of a queue to the shop with alcoholic beverages, but it’s just to get you an idea of how long the queues were. Fun fact: people queued for days, for example my mum was taking shifts with her mum and her sister while my grandpa was at work. Sometimes people queued because the rumor had it that they would deliver “something” to the shop. Oftentimes, people didn’t know what that “something” was, but there was such a huge shortage of goods that they queued anyway because they could later sell it or exchange it for something else. 

Another mechanism of the same vain functioned:

Now, people working in the companies that were producing goods at some point started to create the second “black market” meaning that they would “bring” some of the goods produced in their companies home, to either exchange it for something else or sell it on the black market. A lot of luxury goods like meat for example or a tv set, were sold under the counter illegally. If you had an aunt who had her own farm in the countryside, you were able to make a lot of money on selling meat and eggs alone, as such basic products were on shortage. Same when you owned a shop. For example if you owned a shop, and let’s say 4 tv sets were delivered from the production line, you put 2 on the counter and 2 under the counter to sell it on the black market, for example to your aunt or a friend of a friend who “ordered” it from you.  These were very strange times, there was apparently a huge shortage of all the goods, and yet people had all the stuff they needed at home. Pretty neat, yeah? Well, apart from the toilet paper, but that was sometimes just not being produced. AT ALL. 

Everybody was doing it and everybody knew that everyone else were doing it. Tell me, how a system that allows stealing the state owned goods is good for a society as a whole and useful in building the sense of respect towards the state institutions? People back then were thinking “well, the government is screwing us over, so why should we feel bad about us screwing the government over, too?”. It is visible to this day, when you still hear people of the oldest generation whining about paying taxes and generally contributing to the society as a whole. They think that the government is crap, and nothing’s gonna change anyway, so why should they care, why should they go vote… They still have their heads in the 80ties. 

6. Lack of personal freedom, freedom of speech and well, being basically fed with propaganda from all places. We had Russian spies of KGB working in Poland, some people, in exchange of some goods or connections, colluded with the communist government and were spying on their neighbors and ratting on them to the government, if they thought that there was a chance that somebody could be a oppositionist.  That really helps to build social trusts, doesn’t it? You could be thrown in jail and beaten to death for thinking differently. Well, Orwell really did a great job at explaining the communist mechanisms in his book ‘1984′. Sure, he paints an exaggerated picture, but the whole notion of The Party being always right and being very vehement about people who dared to say no, while oppressing people in the name of a mission to fulfill, which was constantly fulled by propaganda, and painting the reality in bright colors though the reality was so much different, is right on point. To this day, people are really distrusting towards each other, especially people who grew up in the communist times. Sayings like “You can count? Count on yourself” are still prevalent in the public discourse. What is more, you could not leave a country without the government knowing about it. Your passport was closed in a drawer in the governmental office, so if you wanted to go abroad you’d have to ask to have it, and still you could only travel within the borders of the Eastern Block.Things like vacations in Paris? It was very hard to get a permission to leave just like that, so many people just stayed in their own country - that created the xenophobia - in order to discourage people from fleeing or going away (because they didn’t really want to see people realize how screwed they are), they fed people with propaganda saying that the other countries are bad and that communism is superior, but people knew how bad they have it and that everywhere else, especially in the western countries, people’s lives are better, so the government, in order to retain people  did everything possible to make people stay, ergo they made it extra hard for people to move around. At some point, they allowed people to go to Bulgaria on vacations and this was for many, the only chance to go abroad. (Bulgaria was a communist country, too back then). 

7. They were elections held, but the candidates were elected by the Party so, it didn’t matter on who you voted, things would not change anyway. Some people think it’s the same under democracy, so that’s why the turnout for the elections in Poland is so low. 

Pretty crazy, isn’t it? And it is just my common knowledge I acquired by talking to my parents and grandparents, and I’m pretty sure, it’s actually the tip of an iceberg and, have I investigated the matter further, I’d be able to give you even more crazy, inconceivable now for a citizen of a democratic country, details. Actually, I’ve recently bought a book entitled “Women, Communism and Industrialization in the post-war Poland” and once I’ve read it, I’ll probably add more to this post. 

this literal piece of human garbage thinks chelsea literally only wants to raise taxes, but ignores all the posts recently from chelsea talking about how we need new systems of economics and politics

forbes.com
Fighting For STEM Women In The Age Of Trump

Here’s something that nobody saw coming: President Donald Trump recently signed two laws designed to help encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Given Trump’s history of disparaging remarks against women – and his skepticism towards certain areas of scientific inquiry, like climate change – one would expect gender equality in STEM to be a low priority for his administration.

But Trump’s support for the issue has less to do with his personal views than with an undeniable reality: closing the nation’s persistent gender gap in STEM will be essential to achieving many of the new administration’s economic and national security goals.

VOCAB WORDS

OH YA AP EURO MASSIVE SUMMARY

Ok so first this may seem scary but here are key terms and comprehensive definitions taken tom R.E.A’s AP Euro Crash Course edition book… so ya look at these and make sure you know at LEAST vaguely what each one means. Just for more credit they are literally verbatim from the R.E.A. book. No credit to me.

Key Terms—you have to know these

a.       Europe in Transition, 1450-1650

  1. Humanism: The scholarly interest in the study of the classical texts, values, and styles of Greece and Rome. Humanism contributed to the promotion of a liberal arts education based on the study of the classics, rhetoric, and history.
  2. Christian Humanism: A branch of humanism associated with northern Europe. Like their Italian counterparts, the Christian Humanists closely studied classical texts. However, they also sought to give humanism a specifically Christian content. Christian humanists like Desiderius Erasmus were committed to religious piety and institutional reform.
  3. Vernacular: The everyday language of a region or country. Miguel de Cervantes, Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante, and Martin Luther all encouraged the development of their national languages by writing in the vernacular. Desiderius Erasmus, however, continued to write in Latin.
  4. New Monarchs: European monarchs who created professional armies and a more centralized administrative bureaucracy. The new monarchs also negotiated a new relationship with the Catholic Church. Key new monarchs include Charles VII, Louis XI, Henry VII, and Ferdinand and Isabella.
  5. Taille: A direct tax on the French peasantry. The taille was one of the most important sources of income for French monarchs until the French Revolution.
  6. Reconquista: The centuries-long Christian “reconquest” of Spain from the Muslims. The Reconquista culminated in 1492 with the conquest of the last Muslin stronghold, Granada.
  7. Indulgence: A certificate granted by the pope in return for the payment of a fee to the church. The certificate stated that the soul of the dead relative or friend of the purchaser would have his time in purgatory reduced by many years or cancelled altogether.
  8. Anabaptist: Protestants who insisted that only adult baptism conformed to Scripture. Protestant and Catholic leaders condemned Anabaptists for advocating the complete separation of Church and State.
  9. Predestination: Doctrine espoused by John Calvin that Gad has known since the beginning of time who will be saved and who will be damned. Calvin declared that “by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once and for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would condemn to destruction.”
  10. Huguenots: French Protestants who followed the teachings of John Calvin.
  11. Politiques: Rulers who put political necessities above personal beliefs. For example, both Henry IV of France and Elizabeth I of England subordinated theological controversies in order to achieve political unity.
  12. Columbian Exchange: The interchange of plants, animals, diseases, and human populations between the Old World and the New World.
  13. Mercantilism: Economic philosophy calling for close government regulation of the economy. Mercantilist theory emphasized building a strong, self-sufficient economy by maximizing exports and limiting imports. Mercantilists supported the acquisition of colonies as sources of raw materials and markets for finished goods. The favorable balance of trade would enable a country to accumulate reserves of gold and silver.
  14. Putting-Out System: A pre-industrial manufacturing system in which an entrepreneur would bring materials to rural people who worked on them in their own homes. For example, watch manufacturers in Swiss towns employed villagers to make parts for their products. The system enabled entrepreneurs to avoid restrictive guild regulations.
  15. Joint-Stock Company: A business arrangement in which many investors raise money for a venture too large for any of them to undertake alone. They share profits in proportion to the amount they invest. English entrepreneurs used joint-stock companies to finance the establishment of New World colonies.

    b.       The Age of Kings, 1600-1789

  16. Absolutism: A system of government in which the ruler claims sole and uncontestable power. Absolute monarchs were not limited by constitutional restraints.
  17. Divine Rights of Kings: The idea that rulers receive their authority from God and are answerable only to God. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, a French bishop and court preacher to Louis XIV, provided theological justification for the divine right of kings by declaring that “the state of monarchy is the supremest thing on Earth, for kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon Earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God himself are called Gods. In the scriptures kings are called Gods, and their power is compared to the divine powers.”
  18. Intendants: French royal officials who supervised provincial governments in the name of the king. Intendants played a key role in establishing French absolutism.
  19. Fronde: A series of rebellions against royal authority in France between 1649 and 1652. The Fronde played a key role in Louis XIV’s decision to leave Paris and build the Versailles Palace.
  20. Robot: A system of forced labor used in eastern Europe. Peasants usually owed three to four days a week of forced labor. The system was abolished in 1848.
  21. Junkers: Prussia’s landowning nobility. The Junkers supported the monarchy and served in the army in exchange for absolute power over their serfs.
  22. Scientific Method: The use of inductive logic and controlled experiments to discover regular patterns in nature. These patterns or natural laws can be described with mathematical formulas.
  23. Philosophes: Eighteenth century writers who stressed reason and advocated freedom of expression, religious toleration, and a reformed legal system. Leading philosophes such as Voltaire fought irrational prejudice and believed that society should be open to people of talent.
  24. Deism: The belief that God created the universe but allowed it to operate through the laws of nature. Deists believed that natural laws could be discovered by the use of human reason.
  25. General Will: A concept in political philosophy referring to the desire or interest of a people as a whole. As used by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who championed the concept, the general will is identical to the rule of law.
  26. Enlightened Despotism: A system of government supported by leading philosophes in which an absolute ruler uses his or her power for the good of the people. Enlightened monarchs supported religious tolerance, increased economic productivity, administrative reform, and scientific academies. Joseph II, Frederick the Great, and Catherine the Great were the best-known Enlightened monarchs.
  27. Enclosure Movement: The process by which British landlords consolidated or fenced in common lands to increase the production of cash crops. The Enclosure Acts led to an increase in the size of farms held by large landowners.
  28. Agricultural Revolution: The innovations in farm production that began in eighteenth century Holland and spread to England. These advances replaced the open-field agriculture system with a more scientific and mechanized system of agriculture.
  29. Physiocrats: Group of eighteenth-century French economists led by Francois Quesnay. The physiocrats criticized mercantilist regulations and called for free trade.
  30. Invisible Hand: Phrase coined by Adam Smith to refer to the self-regulating nature of a free marketplace. 

    c.        Revolution and Reaction, 1789-1850

  31. Parlements: French regional courts dominated by hereditary nobles. The Parlement of Paris claimed the right to register royal decrees before they could become law.
  32. Girondins: A moderate republican faction active in the French Revolution from 1791 to 1793. The Girondin Party favored a policy of extending the French Revolution beyond France’s borders.
  33. Jacobins: A radical republican party during the French Revolution from 1791 to 1793. Led by Maximilien Robespierre, the Jacobins unleased the Reign of Terror. Other key leaders included Jean-Paul Marat, Georges-Jacques Danton, and the Comte de Mirabeau. The Marquis de Lafayette was not a Jacobin.
  34. San-Culottes: The working people of Paris who were characterized by their long working pants and support for radical politics.
  35. Levee en Masse: The French policy of conscripting all males into the army. This created a new type of military force based upon mass participation and a fully mobilized economy.
  36. Thermidorian Reaction: Name given to the reaction against the radicalism of the French Revolution. It is associated with the end of the Reign of Terror and reassertion of the bourgeoisie power in the Directory.
  37. Legitimacy: The principle that rulers who have been driven from their thrones should be restored to power. For example, the Congress of Vienna restored the Bourbons to power in France.
  38. Balance of Power: A strategy to maintain and equilibrium, in which weak countries join together to match or exceed the power of a stronger country. It was one of the guiding principles of the Congress of Vienna.
  39. Liberalism: Political philosophy that in the nineteenth century advocated representative government dominated by the propertied classes, minimal government interference in the economy, religious toleration, and civil liberties such as freedom of speech.
  40. Conservatism: Political philosophy that in the nineteenth century supported legitimate monarchies, landed aristocracies, and established churches. Conservatives favored gradual change in the established social order.
  41. Nationalism: Belief that a nation consists of a group of people who share similar traditions, history, and language. Nationalists argued that every nation should be sovereign and include all members of a community. A person’s greatest loyalty should be to a nation-state.
  42. Romanticism: Philosophical and artistic movement in late eighteenth—and early nineteenth—century Europe that represented a reaction against the Neoclassical emphasis upon reason. Romantic artists, writers, and composers stressed emotion and the contemplation of nature.
  43. Chartism: A program of political reforms sponsored by British workers in the late 1830s. Chartist demands included universal manhood suffrage, secret ballots, equal electoral districts, and salaries for members of the House of Commons.
  44. Zollverein: A free-trade union established among major German states in 1834.
  45. Carbonari: A secret revolutionary society working to unify Italy in the 1820s.
  46. Luddites: A social movement of British textile artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution. The Luddites believed that the new industrial machinery would eliminate their jobs. The Luddites responded by attempting to destroy the mechanized looms and other new machines.
  47. Utilitarianism: A theory associated with Jeremy Bentham that is based upon the principle of “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” Bentham argued that his principle should be applied to each nation’s government, economy, and judicial system.
  48. Utopian Socialists: Early nineteenth-century socialists who hoped to replace the overly competitive capitalist structure with planned communities guided by a spirit of cooperation. Leading French utopian socialists such as Charles Fourier and Louis Blanc believed that the property should be communally owned.
  49. Marxism: Political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. They believed that history in the result of class conflict that will end with triumph of the industrial proletariat over the bourgeoisie. The new classless society would abolish private property. 

    d.       Toward the Modern World, 1850-1914

  50. Second Industrial Revolution:  A wave of late-nineteenth-century industrialization that was characterized by an increased use of steel, chemical processes, electric power, and railroads. This period also witnessed the spread of industrialization from Great Britain to western Europe and the United States. Both the U.S. and Germany soon rivaled Great Britain.
  51. Social Darwinism: The belief that there is a natural evolutionary process by which the fittest will survive. Wealthy business and industrial leaders used Social Darwinism to justify their success.
  52. RealPolitik: “The politics of reality”; used to describe the tough, practical politics in which idealism and romanticism play no part. Otto von Bismarck and Camillo Benso di Cavour were the leading practitioners of realpolitik.
  53. Syndicalism: A radical political movement that advocated bringing industry and government under the control of federations of labor unions. Syndicalists endorsed direct actions such as strikes and sabotage.
  54. Autocracy: A government in which the ruler has ultimate power and uses it in an arbitrary manner. The Romanov dynasty in Russia is the best example of an autocracy.
  55. Duma: The Russian parliament created after the revolution of 1905.
  56. Imperialism: The policy of extending one country’s rule over other lands by conquest or economic domination.
  57. Sphere of Influence: A region dominated by, but not directed by, a foreign nation. 

    e.       The “Second Thirty Years’ War”: WWI and WWII, 1914-1945

  58. Fourteen Points: President Woodrow Wilson’s idealist peace aims. Wilson stressed national self-determination, the rights of small countries, freedom of the seas, and free trade.
  59. Bolsheviks: A party of revolutionary Marxists, led by Vladimir Lenin, who seized power in Russia in 1917.
  60. New Economic Policy (N.E.P.): A program initiated by Vladimir Lenin to stimulate the economic recovery of the Soviet Union in the early 1920s. The New Economic Policy utilized a limited revival of capitalism in light industry and agriculture.
  61. Existentialism: Philosophy that God, reason, and progress are all myths. Humans must accept responsibility for their actions. This responsibility causes an overwhelming sense of dread and anguish. Existentialism reflects the sense of isolation and alienation in the twentieth century.
  62. Relativity: A scientific theory associated with Albert Einstein. Relativity holds that time and space do not exist separately. Instead, they are a combined continuum whose measurement depends as much on the observer as on the entities being measured.
  63. Totalitarianism: A political system in which the government has total control over the lives of individual citizens.
  64. Fascism: A political system that combines an authoritarian government with a corporate economy. Fascist governments glorify their leaders, appeal to nationalism, control the media, and repress individual liberties.
  65. Kulaks: Prosperous landowning peasants in czarist Russia. Joseph Stalin accused the kulaks of being class enemies of the poorer peasants. Stalin “liquidated the kulaks as a class” by executing them and expropriating their lands to form collective farms.
  66. Keynesian Economics: An economic theory based on the ideas of twentieth-century British economist John Maynard Keynes. According to Keynesian economics, governments can spend their economies out of a depression by using deficit-spending to encourage employment and stimulate economic growth.
  67. Appeasement: A policy of making concessions to an aggressor in the hopes of avoiding war. Associated with Neville Chamberlain’s policy of making concessions to Adolf Hitler. 

    f.        The Cold War Era, 1945-1991

  68. Containment: The name of a U.S. foreign policy designed to contain or block the spread of Soviet policy. Inspired by George F. Kennan, containment was expressed in the Truman Doctrine and implemented in the Marshall Plan and the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.
  69. Decolonization: The process by which colonies gained their independence from the imperial European powers after WWII.
  70. De-Stalinization: The policy of liberalization of the Stalinist system in the Soviet Union. As carried out by Nikita Khrushchev, de-Stalinization meant denouncing Joseph Stalin’s cult of personality, producing more consumer goods, allowing greater cultural freedom, and pursuing peaceful coexistence with the West.
  71. Brezhnev Doctrine: Assertion that the Soviet Union and its allies had the right to intervene in any socialist country whenever they say needed. The Brezhnev Doctrine justified the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
  72. Détente: The relaxation of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. Détente was introduced by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon. Examples of détente include the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), expanded trade with the Soviet Union, and President Nixon’s trips to China and Russia.
  73. Solidarity: A Polish labor union founded in 1980 by Lech Walesa and Anna Walentynowicz. Solidarity contested Communist Party programs and eventually ousted the party from the Polish government.
  74. Glasnost: Policy initiated by Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s. Glasnot resulted in a new openness of speech, reduced censorship, and greater criticism of Communist Party policies.
  75. Perestroika: An economic policy initiated by Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s. Meaning “restructuring,” perestroika called for less government regulation and greater efficiency in manufacturing and agriculture.
  76. Welfare State: A social system in which the state assumes primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens in matters of health care, education, employment, and social security. Germany was the first European country to develop a state social welfare system.
2

Finally we saw what we’d come all this way to see. Not only was the jetty above water; it looked like a glyph marooned in a desert. It was smaller than I expected it to be. Also wilier. The jetty changed shape and seemed to actively grow or shrink as we drove parallel to it, forcing us to constantly recalibrate our perception of it.

In short: We were not in hell. This was no inferno. The sky was low and soft and gray-mauve or dark mauve, as were the isolated triangular crags of mountains in the distance. ‘‘From that gyrating space emerged the possibility of the ‘Spiral Jetty,’ ’’ Smithson wrote. ‘‘My dialectics of site and nonsite whirled into an indeterminate state, where solid and liquid lost themselves in each other.’’ The lake, with its pinkish cast, was difficult to differentiate from the sky, creating the illusion that there was no horizon line. It kind of did feel like the end of the world, though not in the way I originally meant it. The world hadn’t been destroyed; it simply dissolved into a combination water-gas-solid substance that surrounded us. Salt lakes, I later learned, are also known as ‘‘terminal lakes’’ or ‘‘endorheic basins.’’ ‘‘Endo’’ (from the Ancient Greek) means ‘‘within’’ and ‘‘rheic’’ ‘‘to flow.’’ They are self-contained bodies that do not empty into any ocean. They are the self-contained end to an infinite means.

One of Smithson’s favorite words was ‘‘dialectic,’’ meaning he desired that things exist in productive tension with other things, thereby producing a ‘‘dialectical situation.’’ Our situation, vis-à-vis the jetty, clearly qualified as a dialectical one. But what was the ‘‘site’’ here, and what was the ‘‘nonsite’’? I’d been reading oodles of Smithson and still felt confused by these two words that crucially underwrote all of Smithson’s earth art.

‘‘What you are really confronted with in a nonsite is the absence of the site,’’ he said in a 1969 interview. ‘‘In a sense the nonsite is the center of the system, and the site itself is the fringe or the edge,’’ he said in a 1970 discussion with the earth artists Michael Heizer and Dennis Oppenheim. (If I occasionally tired of Smithson’s gnomic tendencies, I was not alone. Oppenheim, in the same 1970 discussion, grouched: ‘‘Why do you bother with nonsite at all? Why don’t you just designate a site?’’) But the most compelling definition, to me, is Smithson’s claim that the nonsite is ‘‘based on my experience of the site.’’ The nonsite is a drawing or a sculpture or a box containing slate from a quarry. It is the collaborative transmission, or so I like to think, that results when a geographical landscape moves through or commingles with a figurative, human one.

Sites and nonsites, in other words, involve the equal interplay of consciousness and matter. Which again made me think about the crows and what had thus far shaped their interior landscapes, the ones that might come to play (or interplay) on this trip, as well as on the vaster metaphorical trip that eventually their lives would comprise. How might they contain their interior landscape — their evolving selves, basically — and how will they productively, without becoming overwhelmed (or without imposing preconceptions that close down possibilities), deal with the deluge of feeling and information that exists both within a person and without?

In his essay ‘‘The Spiral Jetty,’’ Smithson included a list of materials a person encountered as she walked from the center of the jetty. He demarcated 20 directional points (North, North by East, etc.) The materials view from each point was the same:

Mud, salt crystals, rock, water.

Mud, salt crystals, rock, water.

The same materials, listed 20 times, the stack of repeated words gesturing toward sedimentary time layers while also, in replicating the many hash marks on a compass, implying the unseen presence of a circle.

Smithson completed ‘‘Spiral Jetty’’ in 1970. He died in Texas in 1973, while aerially surveying the artificial lake area where he hoped to build his ‘‘Amarillo Ramp.’’ He hired a plane, a pilot and a photographer. The plane crashed. All three were killed. The artificial lake is dry now. The ramp, completed after his death by his wife and friends, is eroding. The crash site — or maybe it is a nonsite — is a few hundred yards away.

We parked in the dirt lot. We scrambled down the rocky bank onto the flats. The push-pull of negative/positive space made the jetty seem even more kinetically alive and like the storm its shape resembled, one that messed with the intuitive logic of water behavior. The land we’d driven over was filling up with water, while the lake appeared to be emptying of it.

We walked the spiral many times; we developed individual jetty styles and jetty rules. The crows cut across the puddled sand between the concentric rings, but I did not, I never did that, I would never do that. I walked the line, or rather, the curve. Later we flung off onto the flats. My husband made minijetties with black rocks he found in the sand. The jetty, he said, was spawning.

We returned to the jetty and walked it again. Was it an ancient ruin? Was it the beginning of a new civilization? Was it an example of, as Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, ‘‘the revision of categories, where something past comes again, as though out of the future?’’ In always being both, it encouraged temporal slippage. We were not looking at the past or the future; we were in the middle of time. We were at the point of dislocation around which salt crystals spiraled upward like a staircase as they grew. The crows wrote their names on the sand, and because there was no rising tide — no ocean’s clock — their names would possibly never be erased.

Smithson, in his 1966 essay ‘‘Entropy and the New Monuments,’’ mentions a recent electrical blackout in the Northeast. ‘‘Far from creating a mood of dread,’’ he wrote, ‘‘the power failure created a mood of euphoria. An almost cosmic joy swept over the darkened cities.’’ (When Smithson wrote this, a far more economically destitute New York had yet to experience the subsequent 1977 blackout, the violent and anarchic results of which would probably not be qualified as expressions of ‘‘cosmic joy.’’) When we are in Maine, we often lose our power, and yes, the promise of darkness inspires glee. I gleefully fill the tub with water and the lamps with oil and make sleeping situations nearer to the woodstove. I create in our domestic interior a much more active and dynamic conversation with the exterior, that thing we are so often unaffected by, or simply trying, with our house, to keep out. And while this skill set has mostly been of use in places where the power lines are aboveground, sagging, even in good weather, from tilted pole to tilted pole, the underground electricals of New York are now equally menaced by rising (and descending, into the works) water. My gleeful preparations are increasingly applicable to many more situations, and by that possibility I feel energized. Not because I crave drama or instability, but because I am rendered, in a kind of trippy and exhilarating way, both indispensable and irrelevant.

At the jetty I became entirely irrelevant, and the result was even more exhilarating. Smithson, when searching for a framework with which to explore both limits and limitlessness, found useful the concept of entropy, i.e., the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy proved intriguing to him because, as he understood it, energy was ‘‘more easily lost than obtained’’ and thus, ‘‘in the ultimate future the whole universe will burn out and be transformed into an all-encompassing sameness.’’ I experienced that ultimate future. I experienced what the planet would be like when we were, every one of us, gone. I had, before our visit, worried not only about my crows but also about the loneliness of a planet that might someday have no one to see it, walk through it, feel intense things because of it. That is what made my brain and my heart fold in on themselves. Cities, yes, gone; ice caps, gone; but the beauty of the planet routed through a human consciousness, that’s what I couldn’t comprehend vanishing. This was what, more than my own particular death, I’d despaired at. But on the jetty, I understood what Smithson intuited so long ago in Rome: Beauty did not need us.

‘‘You don’t have to have existence to exist,’’ Smithson said.

If there were a sun, it would have been setting. As the sky grew subtly pinker and purpler, other cars appeared: two families, a lone woman and a couple. Some walked the jetty, but others struck out directly for the invisible horizon and soon became tiny black marks floating in the middle of the same-color distance. The young couple stood on the flats and hugged and kissed. The lone woman neatened the jetty; she found errant rocks and threw them back within the boundaries, redarkening its outline.

Back in the parking lot, as the rain finally started (it had been threatening), we talked to some of these people. All of them were longtime residents in the area. The jetty-neatener said: ‘‘I’ve never been here before. Today just felt like the day.’’

The Art at the End of the World

nytimes.com
Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money
The system would probably mean higher taxes, but overall costs for most people would be much lower.
By Robert H. Frank

Total costs are lower under single-payer systems for several reasons. One is that administrative costs average only about 2 percent of total expenses under a single-payer program like Medicare, less than one-sixth the corresponding percentage for many private insurers. Single-payer systems also spend virtually nothing on competitive advertising, which can account for more than 15 percent of total expenses for private insurers.

The most important source of cost savings under single-payer is that large government entities are able to negotiate much more favorable terms with service providers. In 2012, for example, the average cost of coronary bypass surgery was more than $73,000 in the United States but less than $23,000 in France.