Law in Contemporary Society
-- NonaFarahnik - 27 Jan

I am not sure if I am using this right but I wanted to try. I also need to go to bed, so I am writing quickly and maybe not clearly. Anyway, I was thinking about (forgive me if I misunderstood) Art's "biology" suggestion of class stratification as a natural consequence of our humanness and Eben's response that the uninterrupted history of stratification is an arbitrary societal creation that is more of a reflection on the uninterrupted history of a power/wealth owner class. Something that is dissatisfying for me is the abstract way we speak about whoever the non-owners are. For example, my question about hypothetical access to perfect education for all, was more of a question of how widely improved access to education would figure into a chart that equates measurable ownership with power. Eben's response was that we have such glaringly disparate public education because that is how the 10% wants it to be, otherwise, being the top 10% they are, they would not allow it to be such. This raised another issue for me, though I agree mostly with his sentiment-- what about when we get into the actual practical every-day part hurdles for the most difficult of problems? What about teacher's unions that protect seniority over competence? Parents who are not involved in their child's education? Where does individual motivation and responsibility fit in to this picture? I am curious about how Eben feels about the Joel Klein/Bloomberg attempts.

My point was not that all questions of educational policy boil down to the desire of the owners to keep most people from being too educated to play their roles as workers, consumers and borrowers without challenging the owners' political control. Obviously there are questions, political as well as educational psychology questions, that would need to be discussed and decided in a more just society as they need to be decided in this one. But the importance of educational limitation to the maintenance of white supremacy, for example, is not less now than it was when the owners criminally prohibited teaching their slaves to read, which was—OMG—under this very Constitution of ours a mere 150 years ago. The owners were given $1.6 trillion dollars at the beginning of this decade through cuts in their taxes that redistrbuted the costs of our two wars to others (mostly future taxpayers) while they were also given the green light to make another trillion as commission on the conversion of most Americans' homes from assets to debts. They lost a trillion or so in the evaporation of assets resulting from their foolishness, but they have squandered the Empire more deeply. What if even one of those trillions had been spent giving every child in America a first-class education designed to make them dangerous to power? That's why it never happens.

If you want to discuss the details of educational policy in New York City, and the efforts of the mayor and his chancellor, the best person to talk to is Jim Liebman, who is teaching many of you, and who knows more intimately their intentions and their limitations, their successes and their failures, than anyone else in the city.

Some other questions for Eben I want to write down before I forget. Do you think it was wrong for the government to intervene as it did before/during/after Bear Stearns/Lehman? Do you think there is significant value to the Gates foundation? How does the commitment of two of the people who make up a large part of the 1% to donate almost all of that fortune figure into this analysis?

We would have to agree on the facts about the Government's behavior from March to December 2008, and the facts are not certain because the record is overwhelmingly still hidden. I suspect that when all is known, which will probably not be for decades, you will see that the behavior of the government was two parts well-intentioned panic and one part culpable corruption. We should discuss the activities of the Gates Foundation in detail; in some respects I think their work is splendid, in others foolish, in still others corrupt. His wealth is entirely ill-gotten, the product of an astonishing and horrendous effort to reduce the utility of technology solely in order to create wealth for his gang, and the process of giving it away largely but by no means completely in efforts that are good for his business (minus the billions he has spent on his image and the hundreds of millions he has spent on himself) is not even reparation, let alone virtue. Mr Buffett is another question. But he has never been an investor in Microsoft because he does not understand what it does, as he has said himself, and his endorsement of Mr Gates is therefore entirely appropriate, because he knows who Mr Gates is and understands the nature of his very peculiar skills and mental organization, while having no real understanding of the immense harm done by his business.

Why do you want to destroy Apple/ disagree with Jobs' hyper-proprietary strategy? I like the control they yield over their products and very much enjoy my user experience (and look forward to the tablet!).

We will discuss this at more length another time. For now, let me just repeat what I have said publicly before: in all the panoply of bad behavior that is American capitalism, there is no one else who has such utter contempt for his customers. No one.

ps. Eben if you read these, this site and the conversations are totally indexed on google, if I understand the correct term for indexed.

Not at present. Other parts of my class wikis are open to the search engine bots, but this class is presently closed off, and so far as I am aware, all the major search engine bots, including most definately Google, are obeying the convention established for designating what should be crawled and what should not. If you see something being returned on a search page that you think should be closed to searchers, please let me know the specific URL being indexed, and I'll find out why.

pps. I do not know anything about computer programming but it would be cool if we could hyperlink to a classmate's profile a la twitter so they would know they were being brought into our wiki posts.

Twitter is just a barf-worthy proprietary service, offering what the net provides everyone for free in return for total surveillance of lives. Anyone who wants to have such capacity for notification of changes by RSS feed in a privacy respecting fashion is already getting it or can do so. Look up RSS in the documentation.



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r4 - 17 Apr 2010 - 17:51:49 - NonaFarahnik
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