Thursday, 16 September 2021

Towards Triopoly

 "Let us have the candour to acknowledge that what we call the 'economy' or the 'free market' is less and less distinguishable from warfare. Though its political means are milder (so far) than those of communism, this newly internationalised capitalism may prove even more destructive of human cultures and communities, of freedom, and of nature. Its tendency is just as much toward total dominance and control." Wendell Berry

In 1920 Rudolf Steiner's Die Kernpunkte der Socialen Frage was translated into English and published by George, Allen & Unwin under the title The Threefold Social Order. Subsequently published by several publishers, and under differing titles, the book was widely read, discussed and quoted in the wide variety of social reform circles that existed throughout the English-speaking world in the interwar years.

Throughout his works Steiner insists that man is a spiritual being, not in any vague or mystical sense but in an exact scientific sense. This being the case, a social system which fails to offer scope for the free activity of man’s spiritual nature cannot but descend into chaos. The spiritual is not something private, to be set aside from the mainstream currents of the life of society, reserved to a 'spare time' activity. Rather it is of central importance within all aspects of human social interaction. In the absence of an understanding of the spiritual nature of humanity, attempts to reform the political and economic institutions of society must flounder because they will inevitably fail to meet human needs. It is absolutely essential to liberate science, religion and art, i.e., education in all its forms, from dependence upon the corporate political economy.

Steiner's explanation of the interlocking elements of society is highly discussable. Ideally, each element operates to complement the others, so that they form a coherent whole. The three spheres can be summed up as Liberty (in the cultural sphere), Equality (in the rights sphere) and Fraternity (in the economic sphere).

l. A cultural/spiritual or educational system covering ‘all that of necessity proceeds from the individual and must of necessity find its way from the human personality into the structure of the body social’.

2. A political or equity system dealing with ‘all that is made necessary in social life by the relations between man and man’.

3. An economic system having to do with ‘everything which is requisite for man’s regulation of his material relations with the external world’.

Steiner looked to a future in which the three spheres, though forming the one body of the social order as a whole, would work freely and independently. He saw that the social order was being run as a monopoly. Since he wrote, a century ago, the economic aspect of life has, to a great extent, overspread all aspects of social interaction:

"It [the economy] has outgrown both political and cultural life. It now acted like a suggestion on the thoughts, feelings and passions of men. Thus it becomes ever more evident that the manner in which the business of a nation is carried on determines, in reality, the cultural and political life of the people. It becomes more evident that the commercial and industrial magnates, by their position alone, have acquired the monopoly of culture."

The present social chaos is a direct result of the failure of the schools of economic and political science to break free of the world of monopoly culture, finance and practice.


NOTE: For documentation see Understanding the Financial System, Frances Hutchnison 2010. Free download and hard copy available from https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/.








Monday, 13 September 2021

How the Other Lot Think

 

I thank the goodly god of Gold

Who has denied me nought,

Who has increased me fifty,fold,

Because I have not thought.


I thank the god that gave the lie

To what the Saviour quoth,

And made it possible that I

Serve God and Mammon both.

Eimar O'Duffy


Thoughts to conjure with. Since those words of Eimar O'Duffy were published in his 1933 dystopian novel Asses in Clover.  Since that time, following the money has become the sacred rule of thumb across the corporate world. A job is only registers as 'work' if you are legally paid a wage or salary to do it. In 1933, the world at large was still recovering from the shock of a World War fought by servicemen conscripted in law and paid to fight. O'Duffy was part of the broad church of the guild socialist movement that encompassed the work of John Ruskin, William Morris, Clifford Hugh Douglas and so many others. Included in that movement were many 'anthroposophists', individuals, men and women who had studied the teachings of Rudolf Steiner on science, philosophy, farming, politics, economics, spirituality and education. Found in all walks of life throughout the English-speaking world, they sought to understand how the financial system was permeating and distorting all three spheres of the social order - the political, the economic and the cultural spheres.

Over the decades of the 20th century, individuals came to be defined by their earning power. Furthermore, the trade or profession through which an individual's income was obtained determined their relationship with the world at large. Increasingly, as the century rattled on, powerful corporations determined the shape of the social order, offering 'employment' in the profitable industries, or in the research, education and training necessary to provide workers for those industries. Thus, in addition to the massive infrastructure of modern times, the employed produced highly profitable arms manufacture, nuclear fuels and weapons, information technologies, banking, pharmaceuticals, bioengineering, agribusiness and so on. As the lands of the world are commandeered by the corporate world, local farming and indigenous populations are forced into waged and salaried slavery as the only alternative to starvation. Small wonder the god of gold reigns supreme. Seemingly, millions have little choice but follow the money and ask no questions.

Nevertheless, throughout the two centuries of industrialisation, questions were being asked by thoughtful farmers in particular and women in general (see https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/ ). Alternative lifestyles have been developed by those endowed with the skills and foresight necessary to step outside the comfort zone of paid employment. However, especially in the last two decades, ignorance about the basic facts about what makes the social order tick, who makes the laws, and so on has become endemic. Taught to follow the rules through a schooling system that now exists purely to turn out workers for the global corporate machine, so many simply cannot hear what the thoughtful farmers, mothers and activists are saying. This is where creative listening, as introduced in the last Blog, can come in. We need to listen carefully, in order to understand how the other lot think. Only in that way can we begin to move towards sharing and caring for our common home.




Friday, 10 September 2021

Creative Listening Introduced

Many major issues of today demand our full attention. These include matters of health, mothering, education, food and farming (from agribusiness to biodynamic agriculture), anthroposophy, Goethean science, law, economics, politics, gardening, healing therapies, mass media, journalism, genetic engineering, biotechnology, and so on. As individuals we may take a lively interest in the research, writings and findings of the dedicated specialists in all these subjects whose work comes to us in a variety of different forms over the electronic media. The array of material to hand is awesome. But, in the absence of local platforms for debate, it is virtually impossible to test out our thoughts with others of different minds. Free and open discussion is, and always has been, the only antidote to authoritarianism.

Take, for example, the whole Covid vaccer/anti-vaxxer debate. The journalists at UK Column News gave their support to Doctors for Covid Ethics Symposium, and made it available to the world at large. Yet there are many who have broken off relationships with friends and family members because one recommended viewing the presentations, but the other did not like what they heard. In those instances, it would be more accurate to say the anti-Doctors for Covid Ethics individuals did not like what they thought they had heard. Which is a very different thing. In my view, the road to social disaster is paved with self-induced ignorance about what the other side are actually saying.

Hence, I would suggest, it is well worth study reading Why Schools of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down. The task is to decide whether we agree or disagree with the title. And if so why? And if not, why not? And where does that take us?

I have settled on this particular text because it is good and very well written. Also because politics and economics are my areas of expertise, and as a researcher, author, teacher and activist. Moreover, all the other topics we are covering are constrained within the boundaries of the Threefold Social Order, as set out by Rudolf Steiner in The Threefold Commonwealth (now available as Towards Social Renewal). What you can learn in the cultural sphere, what legal rights you have within the political sphere, and how you operate as producer and consumer in the economic sphere are questions determined within a man-made social order that is presently beyond the comprehension or control of humanity.

I knew John Papworth and others of his circle, and worked on ideals we had in common. Recently, a small pamphlet by Rachel Pinney entitled Creative Listening, drew my attention. It was the root of a series of conferences, extending over a period of 14 years, in which a great deal of creative listening was undertaken. The task is to build on that experience.

For the time being, I'm posting up Blogs based upon the text of Why School of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down, My hope is that individual areas of research and concern can be discussed within that framework, giving rise to practical actions based upon sound theory and research. The task is to work together, not to pick each other to pieces, according praise and blame as the mood takes us.

Hence the trick is to make yourself think that the opposite of your own view just might be true, and, for a while, to adopt it as your own. You will then be able to lay the two views side by side in the quest for commonality.

NOTE: The Creative Listening booklet is now available for free download (as is Why Schools of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down) on the SOCIAL ART page of https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/



Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Why Schools 3

Observing the effects of global political economy upon local households and communities, John Papworth advocates the closure of the departments of political economy that currently promote global corporate policies in defiance of the needs of the living earth and its people. In doing so, he echoes Peter Maurin's promotion of 'Catholic Worker Schools' to strengthen the moral fibre of local communities. Founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, a key element of the Catholic Worker movement is the farming communes:

We need Communes
to help the unemployed
to help themselves.
We need Communes
to make scholars out of workers
and workers out of scholars,
to substitute a technique of ideals
for our technique of deals.
We need Communes
to create a new society
within the shell of the old
with the philosophy of the new,
which is not a new philosophy,
a philosophy so old
that it looks like new.

A philosophy so old it looks like new? The phrase demands our attention. Over the course of the last two centuries the world has gone through a period of rampant materialism. Corporate bodies have taken over the key institutions of society, turning people into slaves of a world-wide 'Mega-machine (see Mumford) that is rapidly disintegrating. As Forster predicted in The Machine Stops, technological 'progress' is bringing the world to a grinding halt.

All previous civilizations disintegrated. They took the form of small centralised hubs of city states served by a vast hinterland of peasant farming communities. In those city states of ancient times, the vast bulk of the work of all kinds was undertaken by slaves. Men and women who had been reared in peasant farming communities were forced to work, under the orders of an all-male elite, following instructions in order to live. Slaves are primarily materialistic in that they must follow their own self-interest in order to live. It follows that moral and ethical considerations become secondary. Slaves may attain very responsible positions in private households and in public life. Nevertheless, lacking authority, they remain as slaves. Even when they are paid a wage or salary, as are vast numbers of today's workers in industrial production, farming, education, health, transport and bureaucracy, they can at best be described as waged and salaried slaves (see gild socialist literature).

When previous pockets of 'civilisation' faded away, humanity as a whole went back to the land. Male aggressive and war-like spirits were tempered by the mothering wisdom of the feminine side of humanity. Now technological and scientific 'progress' is leading us to the brink of total disaster. As there is nowhere else to go, it would make sense to listen to those quiet voices that have been all around us since ancient times, voicing the social philosophy of the spiritual world. What is new today is that humanity as a whole has set aside the ancient philosophy of the common good. As Peter Maurin put it, in one of his Easy Essays:

Modern society has made the bank account the standard of values.

When this happens, the banker has the power.

When the banker has the power, the technician has to supervise the making of profits.

When the banker has the power, the politician has to assure law and order in the profit-making system.

When the banker has the power, the clergyman is expected to bless the profit-making system or join the unemployed.

When the banker has the power, the Sermon on the Mount is declared impractical.

When the banker has the power, we have an acquisitive, not a functional, society.

Peter Maurin’s words ring as true today as when they were first published in the Catholic Worker during the 1930s. One could base an entire evening’s discussion on each individual point made in the quotation. If, however, one tries to raise those same issues within an academic setting, within a 'school of economic or political science' one will be studiously ignored. Which is why they need to be closed down ASAP.





Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Why Schools of Economics ...

At the back of John Papworth's book Why Schools of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down booklet, the suggestion of a "Fourth World University" is floated:


"Countries are governed largely by their ruling ideas, which is why the modern world is in the grip of theories which have so little relationship with reality that it staggers from one crisis to another with gathering momentum; it is now clearly out of control because the size of organisation in many spheres has become so enormous as to make it impossible for them to be controlled by anyone for any rational purpose.

"It is to counter this grip that a global website 'university' has been founded to research and promote solutions to the problems of applying the human scale to all aspects of human social organisation. As yet we are hardly in the earliest dawn of the degree of human reconceptualization required. Despite the work of Kohr, Schumacher, Sale, Mander, Gandhi and others of the modern era, the factor of size continues to be seen, at best, as a convenient or even sentimental addition to prevailing concepts of planning or initiative rather than as a vital prerequisite for human survival.

As a result we continue to move towards what Jerry Mander calls 'the corporate-driven globalised unification of economic activity'; it is one which can only lead to the bankruptcy of the planet's material resources, the disintegration of countless richly-endowed national cultures and the spiritual impoverishment of an entire civilisation.

"This is an appeal to scholars, radicals and visionaries everywhere to act whilst there is time, to establish centres of learning and teaching in subjects closest to their concerns, however modest in size, in whatever part of the world they may live, in terms of the human scale and subject to human control. Help to create a global network of responsible scholarship, aware that it is as unique as the need for it is urgent and that it is helping to express the emerging global consensus of the need to create a new world of ecological sanity and spiritual vitality."

* * *

Whether or not John Papworth's Fourth World University suggestion was followed up in practical terms, the idea certainly accords well with the Yorkshire Education Association. (See HOME Page https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/ for details.) The concept of an adult education self-help university is by no means original. See, for example, Peter Maurin's 'Agronomic University', as introduced on page 32 of my booklet Down to Earth: A guide to home economics. (available as free download from https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/ RESOURCES\FRANCES HUTCHINSON). In 2011, Papworth could assume his readership would be familiar with the names Kohr, Schumacher, Sale, Mander and Gandhi. Similarly, around the time of the Second World War, Peter Maurin could assume familiarity with Luther, Calvin, Marx, Veblen, Kropotkin, Tawney and Ruskin, Morris and so on, in addition to the biblical texts and the social teachings of the church. Note also the final paragraph of the "To Despair .." Blog of 3 September, which includes reference to the allied movements of anthroposophy and guild socialism. But, to be practical, where do we start?

If scholars, radicals and visionaries everywhere" are to "establish centres of learning and teaching in subjects closest to their concerns", as Papworth suggests, the starting point is for individuals to form Booklists of their own. Reviewing those texts with which we are familiar enables us to find common ground so that we can draw together with others in discussion.

As has been said recently, "The only moral way of halting this COVID Nazification is to once again place people and ethics above science and technology." (Dr. Kevin P. Corbett.) The demanding task that lies ahead is to move beyond sound-bites by undertaking the task of self-education. And that can only be done in the company of others.

NOTE: The Booklist on the HOME page of https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/ includes suggestions of books that are of contemporary interest. How many of them are familiar to you, the reader? These could provide a starting point for starting a discussion group?



Monday, 6 September 2021

Why School 1

Why Schools of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down, is set within the paradigm of the finance-driven industrial and technological progress of the last two centuries. Presently, finance is the lifeblood of the global economic, political and cultural systems upon which we are utterly dependent from the day we draw our first breath to the day we draw our last. John Papworth's booklet was published in 2011, at a time when, following the 2008 crash, far-sighted statesmen and citizens sought to counter the pressure to abandon national currencies in favour of "the economics and politics of super-scale" (page 6). As JP so aptly asks, how many of the citizens of those countries (Greece, Iceland, Ireland) understood what it really meant to trade in their on currency, "the lifeblood of their own state" in favour of a European single currency? (See Dele Ogun's Foreword to JP's booklet. )

We use money everyday, indeed, without it we cannot last out a day. Yet, amazingly, we haven't a clue about what money is, where it comes from, how it is made, who makes it and on what authority. If you ask an academic economist to explain, the answer will come back, "Oh don't ask me! Money is a matter for accountants to take care of. Economists have more important things to bother their heads about: supply, demand, markets, all that sort of thing". So does it really matter what money is? If professors of economics are not interested, why bother our heads about it?

It is not the first time the question has arisen. As the First World War drew to a close, fear, doubt and utter confusion reigned supreme. Just as with the vaccers and the anti-vaxxers of today, there were conflicting camps. Many thought that, having fought well and won the battle, there would be a return to the 'old normal' of the pre-First World War era. Other recognised that unprecedented change was taking place, and troubled waters lay ahead. The task was to understand what had happened, and what was happening as a result.

At that time, roughly a century ago, there was no mass media, not even radio booming into people's homes. News was circulated through the hard copy press, in the form of daily news sheets and weekly periodicals sold through local newsagents and financed by the readers. These were read aloud in many households, deposited in public libraries, and debated in pubs, clubs, churches and local meeting places. Until the late 20th century periodicals were kept in local libraries and could be consulted by members of the general public, as could topical books featured in reviews in the same periodicals. The hard copy literature of the so-called interwar years is highly readable and makes interesting reading. Unlike today, they were not dependent upon funding from the corporate world. Weekly journals include The Tablet and the New Statesman, which survive to this day, and The New Age and The New English Weekly which do not.

It is to the latter two journals that we must turn to discover how and why "schools of economics and political science" were opened up. Founded by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, who drew up the original Constitution of the Labour Party in 1918, the London School of Economics turned out bankers, economists and politicians promoting the orthodox theories of political economy so comprehensively debunked in JP's text. Future leading figures in Labour politics made their names by addressing audiences, throughout the UK, refuting the guild socialist writings of A.R. Orage, Clifford Hugh Douglas and others. Referred to in the previous Blog (To Despair .. ) The history of these writings is spelled out in the two texts The Political Economy of Social Credit and Guild Socialism and Understanding the Financial System. Both are available to download from the website: https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/.

Why Schools, debunks the accepted doctrine of economic orthodoxy that includes 'labour' as one of the factors of production, alongside land and capital (see page 12). For JP, this suggests that individual human beings, made in the image of god, "are of no more or less account than a share certificate or a cabbage patch". In similar vein, in 1934, readers of the New Age were presented with an exploration of labour theory of value. In assessing the value of work, whether paid or unpaid, how is an hour's work to be valued? What yardstick may be most appropriate to evaluate comparison between the hourly value of the work undertaken by:

(1) a Professor at the London School of Economics,

(2) The Editor of The New Age,

(3) the late Mrs Norman for her feat in bearing and rearing her son, our Montague (Governor of the Bank of England in 1934)? (The New Age, 1934)

Schools of economics and political science are all, like the London School of Economics, founded upon the premise that labour, the work of human beings, is merely one of the 'factors of production'. Alongside land and capital, it is merely to be valued according to the financial value it creates. The theme explored by the guild socialists in the so-called 'interwar years of the 20th century is echoed by JP in the 21st century, but with one big difference. The guild socialist/ Douglas/social credit/New Age texts were widely read in hard copy. The massive range of papers, books, journals and pamphlets were freely discussed by people of all walks of life throughout the length and breadth of the English-speaking world. In the present time electronic communications can create the illusion of freedom of information leading to informed consent on matters of health, welfare, political rights and freedoms. But it is an illusion. At one time, back in the late 19th century, the cry was to educate our (new) masters, the electorate. Now it is blatantly obvious, we must set about educating ourselves. There is no better place to start than with Why Schools..., supplemented by the two texts mentioned in this blog.











Friday, 3 September 2021

To Despair is Wrong

Rudolf Steiner

To despair because one cannot think that enough people will be found, even in the turmoil of today, capable of receiving such ideas, provided only sufficient energy be supplied to spreading them, this would be to believe human nature hopelessly insensible to healthy and reasonable influences.

Is it hopeless? This is not a question that ought to be asked at all. One should only ask what we ought to do, in order to make the exposition of these ideas as forcible as possible, so that they may awake confidence.”

John Ruskin – on human nature

Thinking it high, I have always found it higher than I thought it, while those who think it low, find it, and will find it, lower than they thought it: the truth being that it is infinite, and capable of infinite height and infinite fall, but the nature of it, - and here is the faith I would have you hold with me, - is in the nobleness, and not in the catastrophe.”

Johann Fercher von Steinwand – “Johannisfeuer” – The power of ideas

Ideas are actually existing, that is, living beings or spirits, but because they are without earthly admixture, our human powers of conception have no idea of their form. On the other hand, in these ideas, as in everything spiritual, is the longing, or the will, to take on outline and body. They appear one after the other in the world, and clothe themselves in our matter, and alas: at the same time also, in our shortcomings and our faults.”


The above quotations were handwritten in a well-thumbed copy of Rudolf Steiner’s book The Threefold Commonwealth, first published in English in 1920. In The Control and Distribution of Production, published in 1922, Clifford Hugh Douglas, the originator of Social Credit, quoted from the Steiner book and recommended it to the English-speaking world. The work of Joseph Beuys, Michael Ende and other cult figures was inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s work. Douglas, Ruskin and other Guild Socialists were household names, their writings being widely studied and discussed at public meetings throughout the country.

Today, discussion of the teachings of Steiner is virtually completely confined to Anthroposophical circles, whilst study of Guild Socialism and Social Credit is eliminated from academia. In the absence of any focussed discussion in the popular press and media on this valuable legacy of twentieth century scholarship, socially concerned authors scurry around making individual observations about the ‘elephant’ which their eyes are not trained to see as a whole (a reference to John Godfrey Saxe’s poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant. The result is that the power of money remains supreme. We seem to have no choice but to spend our daily lives as producers and consumers under the domination of the money economy. Is there any alternative? How can we move from despair to an awakened consciousness of practical, workable alternatives to an endless round of driving the ambulances to help the casualties of a world economy run entirely on money values?

COMMENT: Since 2013 the above piece has been circulated in various forms. It is so relevant to the present times.

 

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Money and Health Care

The following story appeared in the Spring 1946 edition of The Countryman:

Channel Island Bonesetter

A THIN old man, bending over a gnarled old stick, he entered the kitchen without bothering to knock at the door. He showed no embarrassment in collecting a weekly grocery docket from the parish charity of which my husband was treasurer. One of the last of our rustic bonesetters, he claimed the ability to cure by rude manipulation everything from consumption to warts.

'Thank you very well, ma'am', he said, speaking in the patois, his queer sharp eyes taking me in from head to foot. 'You don't happen to feel poorly, do you?' I assured him hastily that I was in perfect health.

`Ah, then, if at any time you feel you have les cotai's bas, it will be a pleasure to Pierre Dumont to relieve you. I've got experience, ma'am. Up to now seven hundred and fifty patients have come to me. See, I have all their names.'

He handed me a little penny notebook, containing the patients' names in numerical order as they had visited him. Some I knew. There was a retired colonel. Another name belonged to our very occasional gardener.

'I don't take any fees, ma'am. Not like the doctors. That's why I haven't a motor car and have to accept charity. But of course people sometimes give me what they please. It's a present, though, not a fee, and the law can't touch me. Doctors, they sneer at me, but, ma'am' —a dirty claw-like hand was thrust six inches from my face, so that I backed hurriedly — 'that's where my strength is. In these fingers. It's a gift from God.' — Marie de Garis


The Bonesetter was a healer in a tradition that goes back to Egyptian times, continuing in the UK through the monasteries and after their Dissolution into modern times (see Wikipedia). Such healers combine their God-given talents with inherited skills and common sense to give service to the community. Like all traditional healers, they have been set aside. The modern global medical-industry paradigm now controls educational systems, doctors and research institutes, and the mainstream media. As it pedals the illusion of providing sophisticated medical care, it creates populations "that are ignorant of the real risks and benefits of vaccines" (See https://www.peopleforsafevaccines.org/ )

As we realise the full impact of the compulsory vaccinations programme that is being forced upon a fearful and ignorant global population, we are prompted to ask the vital question: How on earth did we get into this situation? Fortunately, the emergence of global corporatism, under the umbrella of global finance, has been traced by many writers, philosophers and historians over the course of the 20th century. Many resources are already available for free download on the Douglas Social Credit website (https://www.douglassocialcredit.com/)

One such resource is the extended essay by the late John Papworth entitled Why Schools of Economics and Political Science Should be Closed Down.

"In this excellent book, John Papworth goes to the very root of the problem to explain how we the people have all been led to trade the wisdom of ages contained in Aristotle's theory of scale for the shallow modern philosophy of 'just follow the money'. The book juxtaposes the teachings of the ancient thinkers that put the human being at the centre of economic and political theories against the teachings of the modern schools of economic and political science that have made 'the market' the central focus." So writes Dele Ogun in his Foreword to the book as published by Arbuckle Books in 2011.

Over the course of September it is my intention to provide a full Commentary on the text of this remarkable essay that speaks so clearly on matters of money, health and healing.