Tuesday, 29 October 2019
The God of the Dinosaurs
Max Weber's solar anus & Politics as a Vocation- Part I
Having no access to, or understanding of the Marginal Revolution in Economics or Hohfeldian analysis in Jurisprudence, he remained impartially ignorant of both the Law and Econ. Instead, he invented a paranoid type of Sociology- at about the same time as Judge Shreber began advertising his solar anus -and, on that basis, was asked to lecture some German students on 'Politics as a Vocation' a century ago.
Like Shreber's Memoirs of his Mental Illness, whose subtitle was- "In what circumstance can a person deemed insane be detained in an asylum against his declared will?- Weber's oeuvre throws light on what sort of mishegoss must be confined in the Academy even though it evinces a manic insistence on streaking naked through the turgid sewers of Public discourse.
Consider Weber's opening question-
What do we understand by politics?This has a reasonable 'buck stopped' answer in Jurisprudence- e.g. the doctrine of 'political question'- as well as in Econ where it is the realm which deals with Market Failure and the Mechanism Design and Rent Seeking that gives rise to.
But, for the paranoid mind, the thing becomes a solar anus shitting out everything under the Sun.
The concept is extremely broad and comprises any kind of independent leadership in action.Nonsense! A 'price leader' does not indulge in politics. He solves a coordination problem for an oligopoly. There may be something Schelling focal about him but again there may not. The 'doyen' of the Diplomatic Corps is the envoy who has served longest. This is a matter of convention. Leadership arises in all sorts of coordination games and can solve concurrency type problems. Its great utility lies in the manner in which can prevent things getting 'political'.
The theory of coordination games can tell us a lot about signalling, screening, pooling and separating equilibria and can explain the propagation of mimetic and anti-mimetic effects. Political Philosophy can do no such thing. However, it can provide a topos upon which the ergodic can be discriminated from the path dependent- i.e. it provides David Lewis type 'conventions' and can specify a metric for 'ideological' distance.
However, there is no necessary connection between Political Philosophy and Leadership. It is generally the case that the 'conviction' politician associated with a particular initiative did not actually provide leadership for its implementation. She may have opposed it and then abruptly accepted the thing as a fait accompli.
Weber was speaking at a time of great disruption and uncertainty. Munich had seen four very different types of regime- including a 'Soviet' Government- alternate with bewildering rapidity. Moreover, the students he was addressing were- as students tend to be- almost incredibly ignorant and stupid.
One speaks of the currency policy of the banks, of the discounting policy of the Reichsbank, of the strike policy of a trade union;These aren't 'policies', they are strategies. A policy is that which is independent of any game theoretic context- i.e. it is the course pursued where outcomes are independent of the actions of other agents. What Weber is describing, in context, is the (bad) strategies Banks and Trade Unions were adopting at that time.
one may speak of the educational policy of a municipality or a township, of the policy of the president of a voluntary association, and, finally, even of the policy of a prudent wife who seeks to guide her husband.But one may only speak in this way if we mean the guiding or governing principle of a course of conduct. Actual behavior may, for game theoretic reasons, feature strategies and tactics which are violations of the governing principle.
Tonight, our reflections are, of course, not based upon such a broad concept. We wish to understand by politics only the leadership, or the influencing of the leadership, of a political association, hence today, of a state.Statecraft is different from Politics. It is generally the case that Politics has one idiom and Statescraft an altogether different one. There may be highly polarized discourse in the political realm such that Administrations change radically while Statecraft remains on an even keel and unchanged trajectory.
Weber had noticed that Germany had stupid leaders who fucked up big time. But any country, with any type of leadership, can fuck up big time because of cretinous leadership. Being a very low IQ type myself, I don't blame the cretins but the assholes we must always have with us. Socioproctology fingers those assholes in a manner such that even the very very stupid can disintermediate them rather than slip on their shite.
But what is a 'political' association from the sociological point of view?There is no 'sociological point of view'. There are only stupid pedagogues shitting higher than their arseholes.
A 'political association' is an association of people with similar political views. It may have a legal form or be considered as a criminal joint-enterprise.
What is a 'state'?It is an entity recognized by other states as a state.
Sociologically, the state cannot be defined in terms of its ends.Any entity's 'ends' can be defined in terms of its conatus- i.e. its attempt to remain itself. A State could be said to exercise versus functions- e.g. Defense, Law & Order, etc- to preserve its existence.
There is scarcely any task that some political association has not taken in hand, and there is no task that one could say has always been exclusive and peculiar to those associations which are designated as political ones: today the state, or historically, those associations which have been the predecessors of the modern state. Ultimately, one can define the modern state sociologically only in terms of the specific means peculiar to it, as to every political association, namely, the use of physical force. 'Every state is founded on force,' said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk. That is indeed right. If no social institutions existed which knew the use of violence, then the concept of 'state' would be eliminated, and a condition would emerge that could be designated as 'anarchy,' in the specific sense of this word. Of course, force is certainly not the normal or the only means of the state--nobody says that--but force is a means specific to the state.Criminal and terrorist organizations may operate internationally in a manner similar to a State. Some States may have no army or much of a police force and yet remain viable. Force may be exerted on behalf of a State which does not itself have any capacity or willingness to use Force.
Weber could see with his own eyes that States- like Luxembourg- persisted with or without Force, whereas 'Soviet Republics' fell no matter how much they resorted to Force unless, they stopped being silly- and like Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk- did the sort of things Statemanship dictates.
Today the relation between the state and violence is an especially intimate one.Nonsense! In 1919, there was no relation whatsoever between the state and violence. Where the latter prevailed the former was in abeyance. Where the former prevailed, the latter was suppressed immediately and thoroughly.
In the past, the most varied institutions--beginning with the sib--have known the use of physical force as quite normal.Did German clans and families spend a lot of time beating the fuck out of their members? Nothing similar could be said about Indian kulas or jatis.
Today, however, we have to say that a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.In 1919, there were plenty of States where extra-territoriality existed and foreign powers exercised legitimate physical force within parts of the sovereign territory of a State. In 2019, this is still the case where 'State of Forces' agreements exist. In any case, it is always legitimate to use physical force in self-defense or in the public interest. No State has the monopoly of such force.
Note that 'territory' is one of the characteristics of the state.It need not be. The Knights of Malta had no territory but were a sovereign Order.
Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it.This was not true. The right to use force was ascribed to those who could get the state to permit it, if necessary by cracking skulls and killing people.
The state is considered the sole source of the 'right' to use violence.No. The State admits a right to self-defense superior to any can itself grant.
Hence, 'politics' for us means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.So, Weber says that politics was about capturing a Power which pre-existed and was vested in the State. He was wrong. The major political movements of the next two decades featured attempts to create and build up types of power which had never previously existed and whose locus was not the State as previously conceived.
This corresponds essentially to ordinary usage. When a question is said to be a 'political' question, when a cabinet minister or an official is said to be a 'political' official, or when a decision is said to be 'politically' determined, what is always meant is that interests in the distribution, maintenance, or transfer of power are decisive for answering the questions and determining the decision or the official's sphere of activity.This is not the doctrine of 'political question' in American law. More generally, a political question is one best answered by a professional politician, not an expert, or a technocrat or a lawyer or a Soldier or a Professor of Theology or Ethics. This may not involve any change in the distribution of power whatsoever. On the contrary, it may merely break a concurrency deadlock or represent 'agenda control'.
He who is active in politics strives for power either as a means in serving other aims, ideal or egoistic, or as 'power for power's sake,' that is, in order to enjoy the prestige-feeling that power gives.Nonsense! She who was most active in politics sought influence, not power.
Professional politicians were often wholly moribund till stirred into activity by a clever woman.
Like the political institutions historically preceding it, the state is a relation of men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e. considered to be legitimate) violence.No wonder the Germans fucked up. They were brutes. In England, politics featured women dominating men and getting them to do sensible things.
If the state is to exist, the dominated must obey the authority claimed by the powers that be.Says the German brute. For England to exist, nobody must feel dominated by 'the powers that be'. On the contrary, we must feel a sort of contemptuous affection for those boobies. The British Expeditionary Force out fought the slavish, slavering Teutonic brute. The spirit of Edward VII, incarnated in Churchill, prevailed over the Kaiser's corporal.
When and why do men obey?The Germans were brutes, not men. They obeyed the way hunting dogs obey.
Upon what inner justifications and upon what external means does this domination rest?Mimetics- not necessarily Tardean- is a Sociological explanation. What Weber offers is onto-theology.
To begin with, in principle, there are three inner justifications, hence basic legitimations of domination.But no one in their right mind would assent to them.
First, the authority of the 'eternal yesterday,' i.e. of the mores sanctified through the unimaginably ancient recognition and habitual orientation to conform. This is 'traditional' domination exercised by the patriarch and the patrimonial prince of yore.As Collingwood was discovering, we don't know the 'eternal yesterday'. There may be a mimetic target of this description but the moment one does some actual research, the thing melts into the air. No rational person would assent to a History Channel version of 'days of yore'. Thus it can't be a legitimation.
There is the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma), the absolutely personal devotion and personal confidence in revelation, heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership.But at any given moment there are plenty of charismatic charlatans spouting diametrically opposite types of shite to choose from. One can't 'legitimate' one's choice on the basis of charisma alone. Some other nutter demonstrably has more.
This is 'charismatic' domination, as exercised by the prophet or--in the field of politics--by the elected war lord, the plebiscitarian ruler, the great demagogue, or the political party leader. Finally, there is domination by virtue of 'legality,' by virtue of the belief in the validity of legal statute and functional 'competence' based on rationally created rules. In this case, obedience is expected in discharging statutory obligations. This is domination as exercised by the modern 'servant of the state' and by all those bearers of power who in this respect resemble him.But defeasibility is an essential feature of the Law. The 'servant of the state' can consult an Attorney and find plenty of wriggle room such that the Law is observed while Executive privilege operates with perfect freedom.
It is understood that, in reality, obedience is determined by highly robust motives of fear and hope--fear of the vengeance of magical powers or of the power-holder, hope for reward in this world or in the beyond-- and besides all this, by interests of the most varied sort. Of this we shall speak presently. However, in asking for the 'legitimations' of this obedience, one meets with these three 'pure' types: 'traditional,' 'charismatic,' and 'legal.'But these 'legitimations' are 'anything goes'. Any course of conduct could be justified under one, two, or all three of these rubrics. Weber has explained nothing.
By contrast, a mimetic theory incorporating the Condorcet Jury theorem captures actual dynamics.
These conceptions of legitimacy and their inner justifications are of very great significance for the structure of domination.Nonsense! Only mimetic effects matter. Are they growing more rapidly, as signal, through the population than they are being dissipated as noise? If so, jump on the bandwagon and pretend to steer it. If not, don't bother, though it may be a good idea to try a new hairdresser or tailor so as not to come across as too much of an old fogey.
To be sure, the pure types are rarely found in reality. But today we cannot deal with the highly complex variant, transitions, and combinations of these pure types, which problems belong to 'political science.' Here we are interested above all in the second of these types: domination by virtue of the devotion of those who obey the purely personal 'charisma' of the 'leader.' For this is the root of the idea of a calling in its highest expression.This stupid fucker just said there is something called 'political science'. He admits that 'charisma' may arise in a complete imbecile. Yet, cretin that he is, he concludes that 'politics as a vocation' aint about political science- i.e Game Theory- but is about charisma.
Why is he so stupid? The answer is that thinks 'prophets', called by an Angel to pronounce some doom, had 'charisma'. Yet, in the Bible, this is seldom the case. Moses had a stutter. Maybe he also had horns- for some reason. Jonah was even more unfortunate. Joseph was pretty. Jesus was cool. But a lot of the other ones were social outcasts.
Devotion to the charisma of the prophet, or the leader in war, or to the great demagogue in the ecclesia or in parliament, means that the leader is personally recognized as the innerly 'called' leader of men.This may be true in shitty countries with shitty people who think they can get rich by preying gangster fashion on weaker neighbors. But such shitty countries, following shitheads, get fucked in the pooper. They stop being as stupid as Max Weber, though they may let the stupidest of their University students study his shite so there is clear blue water between them and those who are worth employing or listening to.
Men do not obey him by virtue of tradition or statute, but because they believe in him. If he is more than a narrow and vain upstart of the moment, the leader lives for his cause and 'strives for his work.' The devotion of his disciples, his followers, his personal party friends is oriented to his person and to its qualities. Charismatic leadership has emerged in all places and in all historical epochs. Most importantly in the past, it has emerged in the two figures of the magician and the prophet on the one hand, and in the elected war lord, the gang leader and condotierre on the other hand.So what? Charismatic leaders can cancel each other out or be killed, beaten or bought off. The supposed 'obedience' they command may turn out to be wholly hypocritical and self serving. Charisma has to be reinforced with some appearance of miraculous success. Otherwise it is a wasting asset.
Political leadership in the form of the free 'demagogue' who grew from the soil of the city state is of greater concern to us; like the city state, the demagogue is peculiar to the Occident and especially to Mediterranean culture.So, this cretin did not predict that his own country would come under the sway of a demagogue. Hitler was the first demagogue to hold sway in the Northern portion of the Occident. Prior to Mussolini, the last demagogue to hold sway in the Mediterranean died 2000 years ago. Weber knew this but just went ahead and talked bollocks.
Furthermore, political leadership in the form of the parliamentary 'party leader' has grown on the soil of the constitutional state, which is also indigenous only to the Occident.But, it turned out, Germany wasn't a constitutional state at all. Why? Because it was actually a sneaky Oriental which had transplanted itself onto the soil of the Occident. Weber died at the age of 56. But his mental age was 14.
These politicians by virtue of a 'calling,' in the most genuine sense of the word,Yeah right! Hitler had a 'calling' did he? A few years of rigorous imprisonment would have had him singing a different tune. He didn't stick around to argue his case at Nuremberg.
are of course nowhere the only decisive figures in the cross-currents of the political struggle for power. The sort of auxiliary means that are at their disposal is also highly decisive. How do the politically dominant powers manage to maintain their domination?Mechanism Design. Incentives- like not getting shot or shipped off to a Labor Camp- matter. Charisma does not because it either gets with the program or, like Gandhi, gets a bullet in the head.
The question pertains to any kind of domination, hence also to political domination in all its forms, traditional as well as legal and charismatic. Organized domination, which calls for continuous administration, requires that human conduct be conditioned to obedience towards those masters who claim to be the bearers of legitimate power.The Germans, on the evidence of this fuckwit, were Pavlovian dogs. That's why they kept starting and losing wars. It was not till they shat on their Professors and chased them away that they overcame 'domination'.
On the other hand, by virtue of this obedience, organized domination requires the control of those material goods which in a given case are necessary for the use of physical violence.Why? If obedience is received, why control 'material goods'? In any case, that control would have to be delegated to obedient agents. All healthy Swiss men aged between 18 and 34 are obliged to do military service and all are issued with assault rifles or pistols which they are supposed to keep at home. In general, the Swiss use their weapons responsibly. That is all that is required. Obedience is otiose if not mischievous. Soldiers and civil servants should not accept illegal orders. Sociology may not understand this. Economics does.
Thus, organized domination requires control of the personal executive staff and the material implements of administration.Such control is costly and may be counter productive. Organized domination tends to give way to decentralized decision making coordinated through the market or by Schelling focal norms and mimetic effects.
The administrative staff, which externally represents the organization of political domination, is, of course, like any other organization, bound by obedience to the power-holder and not alone by the concept of legitimacy, of which we have just spoken.Fuck off! There is a contract- that's all. No fucking 'legitimacy' or 'social honor' or charisma or totem or taboo.
There are two other means, both of which appeal to personal interests: material reward and social honor. The fiefs of vassals, the prebends of patrimonial officials, the salaries of modern civil servants, the honor of knights, the privileges of estates, and the honor of the civil servant comprise their respective wages.Yes, yes! Eichmann received 'the honor of the civil servant' in Jerusalem, true enough.
The fear of losing them is the final and decisive basis for solidarity between the executive staff and the power-holder.Weber is speaking of a species of humanity wholly different from that to be found in England or India where lots of 'executive staff' would resign their office and return their gongs if they felt the administration had overstepped the mark. Thankfully, once Germany stopped listening to Professors and concentrated on the Law, the German people stopped being a proper subject of Weberian Sociology.
There is honor and booty for the followers in war;Weber fucked up massively by refusing to accept Germany's war guilt. It and it alone had a General Staff which hoped to get very very rich out of the War. Only Germany and Japan had been able to go on the gold standard thanks to reparations they extorted from France and China respectively. This caused their stupid Generals to think that War meant 'honor and booty' not ruin and getting raped to death.
Weber refused to see that Germany had to take responsibility for fucking up. The cunt, thought the winners should take responsibility. What was the result? Germany fucked up again and lost a lot of territory and lots of its people were raped to death. Thankfully, its General Staff was utterly destroyed after the Second War and so it was able to become stable and prosperous on the basis of 'ordoliberal' Law & Econ, not paranoid 'Sociology' or shitty 'Phenomenology'.
The Allies did gain 'honor' by defending themselves from the Hun but no booty. They outfought the blonde beast because their Liberty was more precious to them than their lives. Weber confuses Gangsterism with Politics. His wife didn't. She was a feminist and the first woman to be elected to the German Parliament. Sadly, after Hubby died, she dedicated herself to puffing his shite. Still, this kept her out of Hitler's clutches.
for the demagogue's following, there are 'spoils'--that is, exploitation of the dominated through the monopolization of office--and there are politically determined profits and premiums of vanity. All of these rewards are also derived from the domination exercised by a charismatic leader. To maintain a dominion by force, certain material goods are required, just as with an economic organization.Weber does not get that rational people adopt a 'regret minimizing' strategy whereby they hedge against possible loss of liberty. Thus the 'political' is financed by a surplus set apart for the purpose of resisting 'dominion by force' for prudential reasons. If this does not happen, then- as in Germany- you have Gangsterism running riot. However, the stupidity of the German Historical School of Econ played a part- i.e. Weber himself had contributed to this outcome.
All states may be classified according to whether they rest on the principle that the staff of men themselves own the administrative means, or whether the staff is 'separated' from these means of administration.Bullshit! States should be classified on only one basis- do they burgeon and prevail or do they fuck up and fail. 'Privatization' or 'Nationalization' of functions of Government does not matter in the slightest. A Civil Servant can fuck up just as badly as a Private Contractor. What matters is judicial, legislative, journalistic and civil society based checks and balances.
Why is Weber pretending otherwise? The answer is that this stupid cunt thinks Marxist Econ isn't utter shite.
This distinction holds in the same sense in which today we say that the salaried employee and the proletarian in the capitalistic enterprise are 'separated' from the material means of production.These stupid fuckwits didn't know that the firm only exists if it internalizes externalities. However, there is always a method to disaggregate its activities- i.e. all employees become 'contractors'. It really does not matter how property rights are distributed. What matters is appropriable control rights.
You might say 'why blame Weber for not knowing Coase's theorem?' The answer is that Coase intended to be a solicitor but got involved in a bit of industrial research of the sort Weber had done and that
Coase stated the common sense view in simple language. If Weber hadn't been as stupid as shit, he would have arrived at the same conclusion back in the 1890s.
The power-holder must be able to count on the obedience of the staff members, officials, or whoever else they may be.Everybody must be able to count on contracts being fulfilled. The Law can help in that respect. So can Civil Society by honoring those who show uberrimae fides and giving gangsters and paranoid nutjobs a wide berth.
The administrative means may consist of money, building, war material, vehicles, horses, or whatnot. The question is whether or not the power-holder himself directs and organizes the administration while delegating executive power to personal servants, hired officials, or personal favorites and confidants, who are non-owners, i.e. who do not use the material means of administration in their own right but are directed by the lord.This is simply 'agent-principal' hazard under incomplete contracts. Ownership does not greatly matter. Its pattern can change as information asymmetry changes- perhaps for a technological reason. What matters is productivity- i.e. efficiency. Paranoid nutjobs merely add noise to signal.
The distinction runs through all administrative organizations of the past.Rubbish! Property regimes can oscillate without anything very much changing. The privatdocent wants to be a Professor, hoping that a fixed salary and tenure will make him happy. But, he might find that being independent is more rewarding- if he aint utterly shite. Many of Weber's colleagues found that tenure at Heidel or any other which-why burg was something one needed to run away from very fast and very far.
These political associations in which the material means of administration are autonomously controlled, wholly or partly, by the dependent administrative staff may be called associations organized in 'estates.'Fuck off! The thing is called outsourcing to a Contractor.
The vassal in the feudal association, for instance, paid out of his own pocket for the administration and judicature of the district enfeoffed to him.Rubbish! The guy farmed out his domain through a Stewart. 'Judicature' was a profit center. Administration was about counting money and issuing tally sticks. When, in History, has any enfeoffed nobleman, ever put his hand into his own pocket to provide for those under him? Kickbacks flow upward, not downward.
He supplied his own equipment and provisions for war, and his subvassals did likewise. Of course, this had consequences for the lord's position of power, which only rested upon a relation of personal faith and upon the fact that the legitimacy of his possession of the fief and the social honor of the vassal were derived from the overlord.That was a mystification. The reality was economic. It had to do with opportunity cost- the next best alternative agents faced. This is the trouble with incomplete contracts. Everybody emits incessant 'cheap talk' about their uberimmae fides but costly signals somehow end up getting so bungled the suspicion arises that they were never broadcast.
However, everywhere, reaching back to the earliest political formations, we also find the lord himself directing the administration.In other words, there is a demense where agent-principal hazard is avoided. This can serve to benchmark returns on factors of production. It makes sense to have a 'Home Farm' so as to estimate how much the tenants are making- and which of them are improvident.
He seeks to take the administration into his own hands by having men personally dependent upon him: slaves, household officials, attendants, personal 'favorites,' and prebendaries enfeoffed in kind or in money from his magazines.Sure, many a nobleman fucked up in this way. However, their 'family office' became a breeding ground for a new class of tax farmers who could deal directly with the Overlord once the nobleman came to ruin. This is the real story about the origin of the modern bureaucratic Nation State. Weber, being a German, believes the opposite-
He seeks to defray the expenses from his own pocket, from the revenues of his patrimonium; and he seeks to create an army which is dependent upon him personally because it is equipped and provisioned out of his granaries, magazines, and armories. In the association of 'estates,' the lord rules with the aid of an autonomous 'aristocracy' and hence shares his domination with it; the lord who personally administers is supported either by members of his household or by plebeians. These are propertyless strata having no social honor of their own; materially, they are completely chained to him and are not backed up by any competing power of their own. All forms of patriarchal and patrimonial domination, Sultanist despotism, and bureaucratic states belong to this latter type. The bureaucratic state order is especially important; its most rational development, it is precisely characteristic of the modern state. Everywhere the development of the modern state is initiated through the action of the prince. He paves the way for the expropriation of the autonomous and 'private' bearers of executive power who stand beside him, of those who in their own right possess the means of administration, warfare, and financial organization, as well as politically usable goods of all sorts.The truth is wholly different. Stewarts and Constables became Kings. Tax farmers became Dukes. Banking dynasties became Papal dynasties. There was a continuous circulation of elites which made a nonsense of pious worship of the Almanach de Gotha. This happened in India as much as Europe.
Weber was wrong about History which, he thought, was about people as crazy as himself constantly challenging others to duels the way he himself did as he got on in years.
He was equally wrong about Economics-
The whole process is a complete parallel to the development of the capitalist enterprise through gradual expropriation of the independent producers.Which is why nobody owns their own shop or restaurant or cab or E-commerce business.
In the end, the modern state controls the total means of political organization, which actually come together under a single head.Very true! The Government owns the Conservative and the Labor and the Liberal and the UKIP party. Nigel Farage gets a salary from the State.
No single official personally owns the money he pays out, or the buildings, stores, tools, and war machines he controls.Not necessarily. In Weber's time, it was quite usual for a wealthy man appointed to an Ambassadorship, or given an Honorary Military appointment, to dip into his own pocket to maintain himself in that office in a manner which did it credit. Equally, in times of Emergency, a property may be commandeered for a National purpose though its occupant continues to inhabit it but does an agent of the Government. Similarly, both public officials and private citizens may pay out of their pocket for certain goods and services in the assurance that these payments will be reimbursed by the Government.
Weber himself, when on Government service, must have bought things with his own money for which he was later reimbursed by the State.
In the contemporary 'state'--and this is essential for the concept of state--the 'separation' of the administrative staff, of the administrative officials, and of the workers from the material means of administrative organization is completed.Weber is being silly. Such a 'separation' is undesirable and impossible. Far better let public officials use their own property and then receive pro-rata reimbursement- though, obviously, there could be a problem with people fiddling their expenses. Still, that is a less costly outcome than providing all officials with Government owned vehicles and phones and watches and clothes and so forth.
Weber next talks utter bollocks of a ludicrous sort-
Here the most modern development begins, and we see with our own eyes the attempt to inaugurate the expropriation of this expropriator of the political means, and therewith of political power'The Foreign Minister of the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a lunatic named Dr. Franz Lipp informed Vladimir Lenin and the Pope by cable that the ousted former Minister-President Hoffmann had fled to Bamberg and taken the key to the ministry toilet with him. Clearly this was a terrible crime. Expropriators must accept the expropriation of the means of privy excretion by properly qualified lunatics.
The reductio ad absurdum of ignoring Coase's theorem and fetishizing property rights is that the key to a toilet becomes a matter of high principle and international diplomacy requiring the inter-mediation of the Vatican and the Kremlin- if not the Dalai Lama.
The revolution [of Germany, 1918] has accomplished, at least in so far as leaders have taken the place of the statutory authorities, this much: the leaders, through usurpation or election, have attained control over the political staff and the apparatus of material goods; and they deduce their legitimacy--no matter with what right--from the will of the governed. Whether the leaders, on the basis of this at least apparent success, can rightfully entertain the hope of also carrying through the expropriation within the capitalist enterprises is a different question. The direction of capitalist enterprises, despite far-reaching analogies, follows quite different laws than those of political administration.No. If a Capitalist enterprise is run by a bunch of cretins, it crashes. The same thing happens to 'People's Republics'.
Today we do not take a stand on this question. I state only the purely conceptual aspect for our consideration: the modern state is a compulsory association which organizes domination.Rubbish! The modern state features entry and exit and Voice and Loyalty. It is costly to make things compulsory. Domination, too is costly. The State must cut its coat according to its cloth. If it gets up its own arse, organizationally speaking, then it goes crazy and starts cabling the Pope and the Mikado and Tarzan the Apeman about missing keys to the executive washroom.
It has been successful in seeking to monopolize the legitimate use of physical force as a means of domination within a territory.Germany, like other defeated powers, was- all too evidently- not successful at all in seeking to monopolize coercion- legitimate or otherwise.
To this end the state has combined the material means of organization in the hands of its leaders, and it has expropriated all autonomous functionaries of estates who formerly controlled these means in their own right. The state has taken their positions and now stands in the top place.Weber anthropomorphizes the State yet refuses to admit the sovereignty of the solar anus. Why not? Is it coz he wasn't crazy enough or was it because he was just a Professor of a shite subject whereas Shreber was a highly regarded Judg Freud's theory of paranoia as repressed homosexuality, derived from Shreber. It made its practitioners a lot of money- that too in hard currency- while stupid Sociologists starved as hyper-inflation destroyed their savings.
Weberians never got a State to foot their bills- as opposed to kick their collective backside till they kept shtum or ran away. Freud's frauds got his acolytes laid and paid.
During this process of political expropriation, which has occurred with varying success in all countries on earth, 'professional politicians' in another sense have emerged.Weber is being silly. He knows that 'professional politicians' featured in Ancient Greece and Rome. They could thrive in a slave economy. Thus, Marxian theory could not apply to them.
They arose first in the service of a prince.In which case they were courtiers, not politicians. Why not say 'women first arose as men'? After all, it is a historical fact that girls used to have a pee-pee. Indeed, our first g.f's had large penises which they used to drill us with anally. Then, because of the expropriation of the expropriators, they gradually lost their dicks and got transformed into that smelly dude with a high pitched voice Mummy said we had to marry coz she wasn't going to wash or skid marked chuddies anymore. Anyway, dude had this, like a hole?, where his pee-pee should be- and y'know it hurts much less this way and gotta say a guy could get used to it. But, to be clear, wives are women, not men, though no doubt they first arose as men in the service of a real prince of an asshole.
They have been men who, unlike the charismatic leader, have not wished to be lords themselves, but who have entered the service of political lords In the struggle of expropriation, they placed themselves at the princes; disposal and by managing the princes' politics they earned, on the one hand, a living and, on the other hand, an ideal content of life. Again it is only in the Occident that we find this kind of professional politician in the service of powers other than the princes.Though Kautilya and Confucius inspired vast Manthrin/Mandarin classes in India and China long before the Occident boasted anything similar. Moh Tzu is an example of a humbly born technologist who hoped to make mercantile cities safe from 'Stationary Bandits'. Throughout history, there have been people who want to reform some aspect of Society or make some innovation of benefit to the common weal who have tried to influence Princes and Pontiffs and Pedagogues and even paupers in various ways. We say this is the 'political' aspect of their lives. Their calling may have been to Science, or to Justice, or to the Military, or to Commerce, or to Education, or to promiscuous Sex, or to preventing cruelty to animals (the noble Lord who decriminalized male homosexuality in England, which he described as 'bothering buggers' also ended the baiting of badgers) and, to the extent to which they succeeded in altering outcomes, they may be said to have had political talent. There may also be a class of professional politicians who have no particular vocation for it- they are not called to it, but are born into it or drift into it for lack of other means of amusement or enrichment- but who display great talent in altering outcomes. But this could also be said of the Church, or Science, or Crime or anything else under the Sun. Equally, those with a vocation- a calling to a specific field- like mine for poetry- may have no talent for it whatsoever. That's why vocations don't matter. Vacations do. People will go on strike to get more holidays. Nobody goes on strike because people with a vocation, but no talent or ability, are denied entry into their chosen profession.
The rest of Weber's lucubration consists of non-sequiturs and gobbets of ignorance which I shall selectively present so as to create a composite picture of the idiocy and latent Hitlerism of the German Historical School of silliness.
Before discussing 'professional politicians' in detail, let us clarify in all its aspects the state of affairs their existence presents. Politics, just as economic pursuits, may be a man's avocation or his vocation. One may engage in politics, and hence seek to influence the distribution of power within and between political structures, as an 'occasional' politician.One can be a professional politician and seek to not influence anything at all. Most of the time, this is the guy gets my vote. If aint broken, don't fix it.
We are all 'occasional' politicians when we cast our ballot or consummate a similar expression of intention, such as applauding or protesting in a 'political' meeting, or delivering a 'political' speech, etc.No we are not. I am not a baker when I eat bread. Applauding or booing a guy on the stage does not mean we are in show biz. Weber was a fucking moron.
The whole relation of many people to politics is restricted to this. Politics as an avocation is today practiced by all those party agents and heads of voluntary political associations who, as a rule, are politically active only in case of need and for whom politics is, neither materially nor ideally, 'their life' in the first place.But as an avocation, it is also practiced by those similarly employed whose 'life' it is in the first place. There really is nothing to chose between the two save their ability. I don't care if my plumber has a calling to unblock toilets. I just want the thing to stop overflowing with shit. Vocations can go fuck themselves. Work is the only thing that matters. Princes discovered did this as did Pontiffs and Pedagogues. Paupers have always known this. When some fucker sidles up to us saying he has a calling to improve our lives, we ask him for a job and if he can't provide us with one, we tell him to fuck off. Nobody needs a merely metaphorical blowjob.
A staff was also necessary for those political associations whose members constituted themselves politically as (so-called) 'free' communes under the complete abolition or the far-going restriction of princely power.Nonsense! The thing could be done on a voluntary basis. On occasion, for some specific purpose, a specialist might be hired. But his remuneration would represent 'transfer earnings'. It would not be a rent.
They were 'free' not in the sense of freedom from domination by force, but in the sense that princely power legitimized by tradition (mostly religiously sanctified) as the exclusive source of all authority was absent. These communities have their historical home in the Occident.Utter rubbish! The historical home of the Manthrin/Mandarin class was the Orient. Greece emulated the Empire of Persia and Egypt. Roman Emperors ended up becoming Gods on the Eastern pattern. The Vikings and Normans and Teutons created limited monarchies with an ab ovo distinction between King's Equity, Canon Law and Common Law each of which had, at least in England, its own separate language and tradition. No doubt, there was some convergence between them. Bracton spoke of himself as a priest in the order of Ulpian. But Ulpian was from Lebanon and served under a dynasty of Syrian origin. Christianity itself, I need hardly point out, isn't exactly Occidental.
Their nucleus was the city as a body politic, the form in which the city first emerged in the Mediterranean culture area. In all these cases, what did the politicians who made politics their major vocation look like? There are two ways of making politics one's vocation: Either one lives 'for' politics or one lives 'off' politics. By no means is this contrast an exclusive one. The rule is, rather, that man does both, at least in thought, and certainly he also does both in practice.So there is no real difference here at all. The thing is wholly a pretense. I may say 'I wrote this poem' and that's a good reason for you not to read it. But if I say 'this poem wrote me', you have an even better reason to vomit copiously and run away.
He who strives to make politics a permanent source of income lives 'off' politics as a vocation, whereas he who does not do this lives 'for' politics.The same is true of unclogging toilets. We don't give a monkeys whether you live 'for' doing this noisome task or merely make a living doing so. All that matters is whether you can do the job quickly for a low enough price.
Under the dominance of the private property order, some--if you wish-- very trivial preconditions must exist in order for a person to be able to live 'for' politics in this economic sense.Rubbish! Even if there is no private property we would still want a blowjob, or any other job, performed by someone who could make a good living at it, rather than someone who 'lives for it' but who might bite your fucking dick off in a sublime rapture of vocational exaltation.
Under normal conditions, the politician must be economically independent of the income politics can bring him.Rubbish. She merely needs to have adequate transfer earnings. That suffices for 'independence'.
This means, quite simply, that the politician must be wealthy or must have a personal position in life which yields a sufficient income.Disraeli had no money. So what? The Party provided. This 'Oriental Jew' was trusted by the Tory rank and file precisely because he was not a Ricardo or Rothschild.
This is the case, at least in normal circumstances. The war lord's following is just as little concerned about the conditions of a normal economy as is the street crowd following of the revolutionary hero.Rubbish. Both hope for a permanent redistribution of wealth and entitlements. The possibility of 'war lords' and 'revolutionary heroes' attracting a strong enough following to achieve this is, however, severely limited.
Both live off booty, plunder, confiscations, contributions, and the imposition of worthless and compulsory means of tender, which in essence amounts to the same thing. But necessarily, these are extraordinary phenomena. In everyday economic life, only some wealth serves the purpose of making a man economically independent. Yet this alone does not suffice. The professional politician must also be economically 'dispensable,' that is, his income must not depend upon the fact that he constantly and personally places his ability and thinking entirely, or at least by far predominantly, in the service of economic acquisition. In the most unconditional way, the rentier is dispensable in this sense.Rubbish! The rentier's transfer earnings continue to accrue to him if he remains a politician. Thus, at the margin, he gains a rent from Politics and thus has a perverse incentive. True, he may be principled, but there is a moral hazard nevertheless. Consider Trump. True, he'd still have a magnificent life-style if impeached. But by defeating impeachment by hook or crook, he has an even more magnificent life-style.
By contrast, a guy who can earn more in industry if he quits politics could be said to practice a vocation not an avocation. He is more likely to be independent.
Hence, he is a man who receives completely unearned income. He may be the territorial lord of the past or the large landowner and aristocrat of the present who receives ground rent.But he still has to do some work- even if this consists only of hiring and firing Agents and Auditors- to ensure this felicity continues.
In Antiquity and the Middle Ages they who received slave or serf rents or in modern times rents from shares or bonds or similar sources--these are rentiers. Neither the worker nor--and this has to be noted well--the entrepreneur, especially the modern, large-scale entrepreneur, is economically dispensable in this sense. For it is precisely the entrepreneur who is tied to his enterprise and is therefore not dispensable. This holds for the entrepreneur in industry far more than for the entrepreneur in agriculture, considering the seasonal character of agriculture. In the main, it is very difficult for the entrepreneur to be represented in his enterprise by someone else, even temporarily.Nonsense! Entrepreneurship is fungible. Everything is, even being a Mom- which is why Jacinda Ardern is doing such a good job in New Zealand. Indeed, there are qualities she has as a Mom which make her a better not a worse politician. By contrast, some chinless wonder in receipt of vast revenues from landed Estates may have no reason to develop any quality valuable to the commonwealth.
He is as little dispensable as is the medical doctor, and the more eminent and busy he is the less dispensable he is.Plenty of Doctors have entered politics and used their expert knowledge to improve the provision of Health Services. The fact is, in any utile Profession, an element of fungibility exists so that further specialization and division of labor can occur thus boosting productivity even further. No doubt, there is an 'X efficiency' hazard if Scientists turn into Administrators because of perverse incentives but this is a matter that Profession can better tackle on its own if the underlying activity is indeed 'vocational'.
For purely organizational reasons, it is easier for the lawyer to be dispensable; and therefore the lawyer has played an incomparably greater, and often even a dominant, role as a professional politician.Weber, cretin that he is, doesn't get that lawyers are needed in Parliament so that Bills are properly drafted.
We shall not continue in this classification; rather let us clarify some of its ramifications. The leadership of a state or of a party by men who (in the economic sense of the word) live exclusively for politics and not off politics means necessarily a 'plutocratic' recruitment of the leading political strata.Fuck off! Plutocrats don't have the necessary skills and talents and, in any case, can hire monkeys to clamber up the greasy pole. Anyway, plutocrats compete to gobble up each others economic rent. They hire monkeys to compete with each others monkeys.
Weber's argument is as foolish as the notion that fat, rich, men will themselves pose in bikinis so as to drum up sales for whatever it is they are selling. When Howard Hughes decided to become a movie producer, he did not put on a wig and padded bra in order to play the busty heroine in his films.
To be sure, this does not mean that such plutocratic leadership signifies at the same time that the politically dominant strata will not also seek to live 'off' politics, and hence that the dominant stratum will not usually exploit their political domination in their own economic interest. All that is unquestionable, of course. There has never been such a stratum that has not somehow lived 'off' politics. Only this is meant: that the professional politician need not seek remuneration directly for his political work, whereas every politician without means must absolutely claim this.So what? We still know the guy faces no moral hazard provided his transfer earnings are equal to or higher than his remuneration in office. Weber doesn't understand opportunity cost. He was a shit Economist. That's why he invented the solar anus of Sociology. He does not get that politics is like any other field of human activity in which the division of labor obtains. There is radical fungibility such that market based, not relationship based, transactions predominate. Initially, this may cause outrage- how could you let your own son be treated by a Doctor who belongs to the other community!- but this passes quickly. We understand that Doctors and Lawyers and Teachers and so forth sell their services in the same way we sell our corn or chickens. There may be one or two Doctors or Lawyers who deliberately fail their clients because of their affiliations, but such people may face the wrath of their own Professional Association.
In the short run, politics may feature rent-seeking of an extreme type. But this may cause the State to fail. Long term, successful States see professionalism in political office of so consistent a type that an incoming Administration may retain the services of political appointments made by the previous incumbent.
All party struggles are struggles for the patronage of office, as well as struggles for objective goals. In Germany, all struggles between the proponents of local and of central government are focused upon the question of which powers shall control the patronage of office, whether they are of Berlin, Munich, Karlsruhe, or Dresden.That's why it was a failed State. Things have greatly changed because 'ordo-liberalism'- not Weber's solar anus- now obtains.
Germany had the appearance of a better educated professional bureaucracy than England. But, the German bureaucracy fucked up wholesale. Consider the shweinemord- the holocaust of the pigs- it contributed to famine. By contrast, in England, people were brought in from private enterprise and so the Public Sector proved innovative and far more efficient. In both Wars, the UK didn't just outfight the Hun, they also scaled up industry faster and to a better purpose. The US, of course, made a qualitative jump of a type which the Soviets and, now, the Chinese can only superficially mimic.
The development of modern officialdom into a highly qualified, professional labor force, specialized in expertness through long years of preparatory training, stands opposed to all these arrangements.But, Weber- fucking cretin that he was- didn't get that the German bureaucracy fucked up during the War. It contributed to famine with its cockamamie schemes. Stephen Leacock, the Canadian Economist, made great fun of the starving Germans whose Herr Doktor Professor bureaucrats were feeding with 'ersatz' food which caused them to shit themselves to death.
Modern bureaucracy in the interest of integrity has developed a high sense of status honor; without this sense the danger of an awful corruption and a vulgar Philistinism threatens fatally.How many German bureaucrats resisted the Nazi Gliechschaltung? The 'Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service' has a Weberian ring. F.W Kritzinger was a lawyer and professional Civil Servant. He attended the Wannsee Conference. He didn't raise a peep against 'the final solution' though he later said he wanted to resign but didn't coz it was pointed out to him that things 'would be worse without him'!
And without such integrity, even the purely technical functions of the state apparatus would be endangered.Very true! Without Kritzinger's integrity even the purely technical functions of the Gas Chambers would have been endangered.
Sunday, 27 October 2019
Distributive Justice- Marx, Rawls, Sen & the Socioproctological solution
It is often supposed that Marx endorsed the slogan 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'- which is a good characterization of a family relationship or specific type of joint-enterprise, but is not a feature of a Society with a complex economy. The truth is Marx said Socialists would have to proceed on the basis of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution'- i.e. more productive workers get more. The Soviet Economy, very inefficiently, stuck with 'piece-rates' so as to comply with Marxist orthodoxy in this respect. Naturally, this meant that a lot of money was wasted on monitoring individual output. Moreover, the figures were fudged so that Managers could retain workers in jobs where output was difficult to measure or appeared low.
Only after the attainment of Communism- which itself might have to wait for some Technological Utopia- would it be sensible for Leftists to equate Justice with needs based equality of income.
' In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!In other words, once people work only because they want to, can the product of labor go to those who need it most. This statement is still false. Currently, I produce poetry because I want to engage in that type of labor. However, I want my poetry to go to those who already have a lot of poetic 'capital'. I don't want stupid and illiterate people to be chanting my verse. The same would be true if I were a dress designer. I would not want some ugly but poor damsel wearing my sublime creations. I'd want Pippa Middleton or P. Chidamabram, or some other such aristocratic hottie, flaunting her callipygous form in my clinging fabrics.
Back in the Sixties, some economists- like Samuelson- thought Soviet Russia could overtake the US in terms of material standard of living. There was great optimism about robots and computers reducing 'socially necessary labor' to a mere two or three hours a day. But the problem remained, how could you persuade Society, without recourse to authoritarianism, to ensure ugly but needy people got the first claim on what people voluntarily produced purely for their own pleasure?
One answer is Religious- look upon the material needs of the other as a means to fulfill your spiritual needs and thus redeem your soul. Another was Philosophical- your 'essential' self could under some contingency have been poor and needy, thus, if 'essences' matter, it is rational for you to assent to a Social distribution mechanism such that the worst off have first call on resources.
It was in the context of this type of 'rationalist' argument for altruism that Rawl's 'A Theory of Justice' had a great impact at the beginning of the Seventies when there was still considerable optimism about a 'convergence', of a technocratic sort, between types of Economic regime such that an affluent, leisured, Society was almost within reach for all sufficiently educated Polities.
Rawls's theory features two key principles:
1. Each person has an equal claim to a fully adequate scheme of equal basic rights and liberties, which scheme is compatible with the same scheme for all; and in this scheme the equal political liberties, and only those liberties, are to be guaranteed their fair value.Would we want to live in a Society where drug addicted rapists have the same 'basic rights and liberties' as decent people? No. We'd want them locked up if they possess mental competence, or placed under appropriate care if they are of diminished capacity.
Perhaps, some other sort of liberty is meant. In this case, a Monarchy, or one with an elected President who enjoys some measure of Executive privilege, would be anathema to us. Thus no British or American Rawlsian could in good conscience hold office upon condition of upholding the existing constitution. But there are important reasons for believing that Societies were everybody has equal rights would rapidly disintegrate in the face of external aggression or internal dissension. The 'Golden Liberties' of the Polish Commonwealth appear to have been disastrous for that noble and cultured Nation.
More generally, it is not in our interest to wish to have the same liberty, or specific immunity, as a Judge or a member of Parliament or a servant of the State, executing their duty in accordance with the law. An MP or an officer of the Court should have more freedom of expression so as to be able to expose possible abuses than a muckraking journalist or a person intent on sowing hatred and dissension.
Finally, it would be foolish to limit discretionary responses or equitable remedies to unexpected situations by saying 'only these liberties and no others should be guaranteed.' The fact is, our notion of 'liberty' changes as science and technology changes. Fifty years ago, few would have thought that the British people would put up with a ban on smoking in pubs. Yet, now, we are surprised the thing was ever tolerated.
2. Social and economic inequalities are to satisfy two conditions: (a) They are to be attached to positions and offices open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity;So, hereditary monarchies are unjust. America is unjust because only 'birthers' get to be President. In any case, economists don't know whether or not 'economic inequalities' exist. A guy who has a lot of money may be a fraudster or may go bankrupt because of a flaw in his business model. A guy with no money may be either deliberately or ignorantly not using some very valuable resource he has.
Much social and economic inequality arises because of things which it would be very costly to change. I suppose, if I had a lot of very expensive surgery, I could win a Beauty Pageant and earn a lot of money as a prostitute. But, according to my Accountant, the outlay for the operations would greatly exceed the Expected Value of my earnings.
and (b), they are to be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.What is of the greatest benefit of the least advantaged is that their fellows stop adding to their number. Redistribution worsens a Malthusian trap. In an affluent country, the least advantaged may be those with a family history of violence, addiction and sexual abuse. What benefits them most is the shrinkage and atomization of the communities into which they are born.
Rawls's 2 principles are highly undesirable. However, purely as an academic exercise, one may ask the question- 'is there a unique political system which satisfies both conditions?'
The answer is no. Any system can satisfy these two conditions by giving its own interpretation of words like 'person', 'liberty', 'fairness', 'basic', 'disadvantaged' etc.
What if we specify the meaning of these terms in advance? Would we then get to a unique constitution?
Not if Knightian Uncertainty obtains- i.e. the future is not fully anticipated. Currently, some people ask whether a robot or an A.I could have legal personality. Tomorrow, the question may be about the rights of clones or human-animal hybrids or rocks or gas clouds which have achieved sentience. As for what questions might arise a hundred years from now- very few of us have the remotest inkling.
Lawyers know that the Judiciary can throw up surprises of a type their Professors had considered inconceivable even a decade or two previously. They also know that there is seldom any unanimity between jurisdictions. What is illegal in Scotland may be legal in England. Even where the decision is the same, the ratio may be different. The fact is, even with a written Constitution and well developed Case Law, different schools of thought may disagree widely over how the Constitution is to be interpreted.
Rawls's Theory of Justice was understood to uphold the notion that justice required focusing on the best outcome for the worst off. Unfortunately, it was actually 'anything goes' because Rawls was placing his faith on an Economic theory which- at almost exactly the same time as his book was published- was shown to be, for purely mathematical reasons, to be 'anything goes'. In other words, it was always feasible that something intended to help the poor would actually hurt them because 'income effects' and 'hedging' changed the nature of the General Equilibrium.
During the Seventies, advanced countries experienced 'stagflation'. One popular explanation, at the time, was that redistribution had gone to far. Both inflation and unemployment were rising because there were limits to what institutions could achieve. In this context, Rawls's work had no practical effect. Yet, as an academic availability cascade, it was kept up over subsequent decades and Rawls himself became one of the best known political philosophers in the world.
Sen has critiqued Rawls's work and, in her turn, critiquing this critique, Dr. Laura Valentini writes-
'Central to contemporary theorizing about justice, Sen observes, is the question -What is a just society?‘. Those who, like Rawls, put this question at the heart of political philosophy subscribe to what Sen calls transcendental institutionalism. On the one hand, their approach is transcendental‘ because it aims to identify an ideal of a perfectly just society.This is scarcely true. Only distributional justice was being looked at. Rawls was saying the same thing as everybody else- viz. inequalities actually benefit those who are worst off. The reverse may have been true- viz. the worst off would die if inequalities were removed- but it can never be shown that an inequality benefits the less favored party under all circumstances. All we can say is- 'things being what they are, we'd better stick with the status quo, though in our hearts we yearn for something more Christian'.
Economics is only one part of Society. There are many things which matter more than money. Sex appeal, Charisma, Sporting Ability, Character, Disposition- the list is endless. Rawls wasn't describing an 'perfectly just society' in which all such things were taken into account. His concern was much more narrow, but it was also one that had already become obsolete.
The economist, Harsanyi, rubbished the assumptions behind Rawls's maximin principle almost immediately. He distinguished sharply between our personal and our moral preferences and is generally described as a 'rule utilitarian'. However, even his formulation could not become the basis of an institutional approach because there is a sort of 'Newcombe problem' such that it is generally in our interest to ascribe to a morality greatly at odds with how we actually behave. But current Institutions already exhibit this hypocrisy. Thus there is little point rising from one's armchair to bring about a Revolution which would merely pour old wine into new bottles.
Sen may feel that Rawls was more clear cut in espousing economic egalitarianism than he was himself. Neither, to my knowledge, attempted to redistribute their own income and royalties to the least well off in their own field. Nor, to be fair, did either of them support any particular institution or other mechanism to achieve their ideas or theories. Thus, neither could be said to be 'transcendental' thinkers. At best, they make clear their own moral preference and give some more or less spurious argument in favor of it, but they say little or nothing about how it is to be achieved. Thus they are not 'institutionalists' and so present a smaller, indeed vanishing, target for hostile attack.
Dr. Valenti says Sen thinks Rawls scheme is
is 'institutionalist‘ because it attempts to establish what perfect institutional arrangements would be like, without paying much attention to the conduct of individuals.Rawls says he thinks the outcome of a particular choice situation would be egalitarian. He is wrong. But he doesn't specify any 'institutional arrangement' in this Theory of Justice. It is not physically possible to get everybody to choose a Social state from 'behind the veil of ignorance'.
In short, transcendental institutionalists seek to identify a set of perfectly just social institutions. For them, societies in the real world are unjust to the extent that they fail to exhibit such institutional perfection.This is nonsense. We can look at the outcome of any institutional process and start hollering that it has do what is best for the worst off. Thus, when Rep. Al Green grilled Zuckerberg on the number of LGBTQRSTY people working on a particular project, he could have invoked the shade of Rawls to justify what many people thought was a bizarre piece of political theater.
I suppose Zuckerberg could have tried to turn the tables on his interlocutor by saying 'you tell me how to design an Institution which secures the interests of these people.' Perhaps, Al Green- being an experienced politician- could have answered that question in a compelling manner. However, Rawls would have been no help to him because he was entirely silent about Institutional questions.
Dr. Valenti affirms that Sen, quite bizarrely, considers Rawls's 2 principles mentioned above to generate a unique set of Institutions.
In Sen‘s view, this theory exhibits the following distinctive marks of transcendental institutionalism: (i) it delivers a unique and definitive set of principles, (ii) these principles select a particular set of institutions, and do not apply to individual behaviour, and (iii) a society whose institutions satisfy these principles is perfectly just(i) is not true. The same notion can be expressed by any number of principles with varying degrees of 'definitiveness'. (ii) these principles select a large class of institutions though none may be compossible with physical reality. Institutions are useless unless they change individual behavior. (iii) is false because Rawls never speaks of 'perfect justice'. Our thoughts may be unjust. Our dreams and subconscious processes even more so. Rawls was not a Priest or a Guru who claimed to be able to purge the Human Species of the taint of Old Adam.
Rawls was not a transcendental institutionalist. I am. Socioproctology's theory of Justice is based on 2 principles
1) Socioproctological Institutions are those whose outcomes are perfectly just
2) Societies featuring a full range of appropriate, well functioning, Socioproctological Institutions are perfectly just.
A. Transcendental Institutionalism is neither Necessary nor Sufficient for Justice comparisons Sen forcefully argues that, contrary to common opinion, knowing what a perfectly just society would look like is neither necessary nor sufficient for making comparative judgements of justice across different social systems.This is not the case. A Socioproctologist can easily see whether or not a Society has a full set of institutions and whether they function in a Socioproctological manner. This is a necessary and sufficient condition for a person capable of knowing a perfectly just society (i.e. a socioproctologist) when he sees one, to say 'this society is more just, as is evidenced by its embrace of socioproctology, than that other society where even the name of the founder of Socioproctology is unknown.'
Indeed, anyone who makes 'comparative judgments of justice across different social systems', is either right, in which case she is a Socioproctologist avant la lettre, or else is wrong and thus a subject of investigation for Socioproctology by reason of being an asshole.
The problem with Sen's approach is that 'comparative judgments' are on a spectrum between purely arbitrary & substantively conceptual. To the extent that they are arbitrary, they are not context independent and thus mere reflexes or behavioral traits ; but to the extent that they are conceptual, and concerned with distributive justice, they are necessarily socioproctological. This can be easily proved.
Suppose a concept of distributive justice is non socioproctological. Then a person with that concept would not be an asshole and thus not a fit subject for socioproctological investigation. However, not being an asshole is itself a desirable property and alters bargaining games. Hence it is itself an argument in the function of distributive justice. Thus no concept of distributive justice can be wholly non socioproctological.
Obviously, this proof depends on a folk theorem such that only an asshole would have a concept of something quantitative which has no mathematical representation. Socioproctology is itself socioproctological for this reason. Moreover, it follows that only Socioproctological Institutions- by fingering assholes and thus permitting their disintermediation- can implement distributive justice
This is problematic insofar as comparative judgements are precisely what we need to advance justice in the real world.This is utterly false. Human Justice can develop perfectly well without any 'comparative judgments' with other similar species who have evolved on different planets. It may argued that 'intra-human' Justice requires comparative judgments. This is not the case. A comparison may be admitted as a datum for a judgment. It is not itself a judgment. Thus if the datum changes- e.g. a superior comparator becomes available- we say the facts have changed. The ratio has not changed. Judgments distinguish carefully between datum- which may be compartive- ratios- which decide the case and obiter dicta which may be illuminative but are not binding.
Firstly, to know that the iniquities of hunger,
am I really suffering an 'inequity' because I'm hungry but can't be arsed to get up and sling something into the microwave?
am I really suffering some terrible inequity because I can't be arsed to learn how to read and write my own mother tongue?
why class torture- which is something some other guy is doing to you- with hunger?
arbitrary incarceration, or medical exclusion‘ are sources of injustice,
To know an inequity is indeed to know a source of injustice. But to qualify as an inequity the thing has first to be justiciable. My hunger or illiteracy is not justiciable. My torture definitely is in this jurisdiction but medical exclusion may not be.
However, I am perfectly at liberty to imagine a perfect type of justice where things I consider unjust are justiciable matters and thus represent inequities recognized by the Justice system.
one need not have a detailed account of what qualifies as a perfectly just society.One never needs to have a detailed account of anything in your mind. Furthermore, you are welcome to use 'perfect' as a Tarskian primitive. You don't have to define it. On any justiciable matter, your testimony is not stricken just because it isn't fully detailed or perfect in some other way. It may be admitted as a fact. It may not. That depends on how you hold up under cross-examination.
We can establish whether a society is more or less just by reference to these criteria, without appealing to the higher-order ideal of a fully just social system.No we can't. 'Hunger, illiteracy, torture, arbitrary incarceration, or medical exclusion' may increase at the same time as a society is becoming more just because of a popular uprising against the reign of a bunch of evil bastards. Bengal was becoming more just during the Nineteen Forties. Hunger certainly increased as did torture and arbitrary incarceration. But the game was worth the candle.
[T]he injustice of continuing famines in a world of prosperity, or of persistently grotesque subjugation of women', can be easily detected without a complete and exhaustive picture of what full justice requires.So can the injustice of men wearing skinny jeans or women voting for Donald Trump or people eating Marmite though I can't stand the stuff.
The problem here is that unless you have a 'complete and exhaustive picture of what full justice requires', people can say that you are just virtue signaling or speaking subjectively. That's why people invest in an Ideology or in Religious Faith. Better still, one can become a Socioproctologist- for a modest fee.
Secondly, knowing what a perfectly just society looks like does not automatically allow us to make comparative judgements of justice.Yes it does- for a modest fee.
To make such judgements, we also need a metric to evaluate which social arrangements are furthest away from the ideal and what improvements would bring them closer to it.Socioproctology does indeed specify metric of this sort. However any 'totalizing' ideology can construct a partial ordering over Stalnaker-Lewis closest possible worlds to establish a Konus index.
Method- for any change, i , from what currently obtains, O, look at the closest possible world to our own in which it occurs and select that persona (or possible self) in it which leaves you indifferent between worlds. Repeat, for that world's closest neighbor till you get a closed path- i.e. you are back in the original world which we designated as O. Call this your Konus curvature for i- call it K(i).
Rank all K(i) weakly. Call the result you Konus curvature for O. Rank for all O, to get your Konus index.
Query- what if you can't get a closed path for any O? Then you don't have an ideology. You might be Napoleon- consult a psychiatrist- but whatever you lack in inches you do not make up for by being an ideologue.
Similarly, an incomplete Konus index, implies your ideology is incomplete or of the type of a Napoleon le petit.
A bonus- if your closed paths take in every possible person then your ideology is subjectively Universalisable in the sense that there is some assumption re. preferences over basic goods plus degree of risk aversion you can make such that you can plausibly argue that everybody might acquiesce in the type of Society you choose from behind the Rawlsian veil of ignorance.
Since Ideologies counsel tactical retreats as part of a wider strategy, the difficulty arises that Ideologies might seem self-contradictory or that they end up appearing operationally indistinguishable from each other. However, since you now have a Konus index you can treat Tactical changes as being like the Slutsky Subsititution effect and Strategic advances as being like a positive Income effect. In other words, changes in real world constraints can be represented by shadow prices and the whole question of Ideology becomes tractable for Economic analysis.
Transcendental Institutionalism is Parochial and Status-quo-biased Transcendental institutionalism, Sen complains, unduly limits the scope of justice.This is not true of Socioproctological Transcendental Institutionalism. What limits the scope of justice is economic scarcity.
This is because its demanding ideal of perfect justice can only be realized where state-like institutions exist.I have made no such stipulation. Rawls's principles are couched in the language of the Law, not the State. Law can exist without a State and vice versa. Furthermore Laws don't necessarily feature Rights and Remedies. They may be wholly punitive in nature or indicative, or reputational, merely.
Only institutions such as those of the modern state can engage in the comprehensive redistributive policies advocated by most contemporary theories of justice.This begs the question whether states really can do redistribution in a sustainable manner. Collective insurance is a different matter as is dealing with nuisances or providing Charitable assistance. It may well be that inequality increases at the same time as social insurance, or other benevolent schemes, are greatly increased in scope and scale.
There is no evidence that States can do anything better than purely Socioproctological Institutions with comparable powers.
Since ought implies can, on this view, outside the state, principles of justice become irrelevant.We don't know about the 'can'. The fact is most countries stopped talking about redistributing wealth a long time ago. Even in Communist China, in the Eighties, Xu Muqiao emphasized Marx's principle for 'immature' Socialist countries- '"from each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution"- such that 'need' could be ignored in deciding outcomes. It is a fact that absolute poverty has dropped very dramatically since then.
This is why, Sen says, theorists such as Rawls and Thomas Nagel, to whom he also ascribes this institutionalist paradigm, deny that principles of distributive justice apply to the global arena, and limit the scope of public reasoning about justice to domestic political communities.Coz otherwise they'd have had to be cheerleaders of Vietnam type wars all over the Globe. India did receive a lot of Aid in the Fifties and Sixties. However the thing worked like a 'resource curse'- i.e. inflated the currency and introduced serious distortions into the economy. There is good reason to believe that 'global redistribution' harms the poorest countries.
In short, the search for perfect justice renders transcendental institutionalism oblivious to some of gravest injustices plaguing our world: international ones.Sadly, we Socioproctologists have no power. It doesn't matter what we are oblivious to. The gravest injustices plaguing Sen's own part of the world required sensible interventions by people like Sen. They made none preferring to feather their own nest and pose as Mother Theresas of Economics. By contrast, I pose as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer of Socioproctology.
C. Transcendental Institutionalism is Inflexible Aiming at the identification of the perfectly just society, Sen further argues, transcendental institutionalists tend to ignore the inescapable plurality of competing principles‘ that any plausible approach to justice should acknowledge.'A metric should be rigid. It shouldn't suddenly shrink or expand. An approach to justice may be 'plausible'- all naughtiness is caused by Satan or failure to adhere to Ahimsa- but still quite useless. Rawls work was useful because politicians or lawyers could say 'we oppose x because, by Rawls's maximin principle, x is unfair and unjust since it is not primarily concerned with the welfare of the worst off.'
The problem with 'the inescapable plurality of competing principles' is that the Decision Space becomes multi-dimensional and so, by the McKelvey Chaos theorem, there is endless pi-jaw or an unseemly struggle for Agenda Control. What follows is either a Concurrency deadlock or a fudge nobody is happy with. Thus to gain a Pareto improvement, the thing is disintermediated by interested parties.
Rawls‘s original position reasoning, for instance, is said to lead to the selection of a unique set of principles.Principles can be endlessly expanded and are easily expressed in a multiplicity of manners which may not in fact be equivalent.
It is unclear, however, whether all rational or reasonable persons would really assent to the theory of justice Rawls proposes.Nonsense! Sensible people would just say 'We want a collective Social Insurance scheme' and refuse to entertain any 'deontological' notion of distributive justice.
There may be a plurality of permissible principles, and the ambition to pick out one set, and one only, is misguided and counter-productive, preventing rather than encouraging dialogue about justice.But dialogue about justice is as futile as dialogue about whether Spiderman can beat up Dracula. A principle may be useful when making an argument- but only because you want to win that argument. Saying 'having principles is misguided' is fine if you immediately add 'but much more so is discussing matters of principle'.
When designing a theory of justice, Sen suggests, we should always be open to revising our conclusions.It would be better not to do the thing in the first place. It is an exercise in stupidity.
[w]e often think, if only implicitly, of the plausibility of principles in a number of specific cases ....Principles are imperative, not alethic. A hypothesis may be plausible or implausible- but it belongs to the realm of fact. A principle may appear to have a logical structure but- this is Jorgensen's dilemma- this is an appearance merely.
But once the principles are formulated in unconstrained terms, covering inter alia a great many cases other than those that motivated our interest in those principles, we can run into difficulties that were not foreseen earlier, when we signed up, as it were, on a dotted line. We then have to decide what has to give and why.The Supreme Court, which has the power to reverse itself, does this all the time. In this manner, a body of case law evolves on the basis of 'harmonious construction' such that there is 'economia', as opposed to 'Akrebia' in interpreting legal principles in the light of developments on the ground.
Why would anyone who was not a Jurist or a Legislator want to have a Theory of Justice? The thing is a waste of time for anybody save a Socioproctologist because only assholes waste time in this way and Socioproctology is concerned with assholes.
But, problematically, these trade-offs seem to be inadmissible within Rawls-inspired, transcendental theorizing, with its insistence on exacting and highly demanding rules‘.Rawls has a workaround. He tells us that everybody gets an Econ 101 plug in behind the veil of ignorance. So just by changing the syllabus for this plug in we can get any result we like.
Once we have identified what perfect justice requires, we can no longer revise that ideal.Yes we can. Indeed, we do it all the time. My Rum & Coke is just perfect. Suddenly I remember I have a couple of limes in the fridge. That will make my drink perfecter. Opening the fridge, I discover a half eaten pizza I'd forgotten about. Chuck it in the microwave and open a can of anchovies and get out a jar of capers. Perfectest... Screw the Rum & Coke. I fancy some OJ to wash down my pizza. Bliss...
We remain trapped, so to speak, within the realm of perfection.Stuffing my face with pizza I see that Samsara is indeed Nirvana-
Friday, 25 October 2019
uncorrellated asymmetry & incongruent counterparts
Arnd Wedemeyer earned his doctorate from the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University and has held teaching positions in the German departments of Princeton and Duke Universities. His first monograph, “Expanses of Thought: Space Among Kant Husserl Heidegger,” shows how Kant’s worry about incongruent counterparts became the driving force for a progressively radicalized exteriorization of thought
I suppose, in Game theory, incongruent counterparts such as those which give rise to Wu chirality, are uncorellated asymmetries.
If Concepts are intuitions with an algorithmic description and cognitive resources are scarce, we could think of them as costly signals in a Public Justification context.
If so, the use of a concept in Discourse ought to give rise to a separating equilibrium as there is an uncorrelated asymmetry based on the agent's knowledge of whether of not she emitted a costly signal.
However, if there is a superior intuition too complex to have an algorithmic definition, then Public Justification loses its Alethic status. The separating equilibrium distinguishes worthless gobshites merely
What if, the concept requires us to posit a correlated asymmetry as normative? An example is Harsanyi's notion that moral questions should be analysed as if no agent knew what 'type' they are as if behind Rawls's 'veil of ignorance'.
In this case, some argue that we'd get a 'pooling equilibrium'- e.g. everybody gets paid the same regardless of their contribution- and that might be what God wants.
This is fine if we live in an instantaneous 'kshanikavada' world or else a steady state obtains. However, if so, Public Justification would not be linked to improving collective choice.
The menu on offer, to be feasible, must be incentive compatible. If it isn't, it would be allocative inefficient and so potential for subsequent Welfare improving private trading would arise.
Thus, we would need to know every agents' bid and offer price for every good or service and the 'spread' would reintroduce uncorrelated asymmetry and a separating equilibrium without, however, any need for 'costly signals'. But that's only because we assumed the mechanism had costless information acquisition and processing. In other words, it's a pile of shite.
This raises the question, why is it gobshites we always have with us? Why is Discourse dominated by shite Concepts when, as outlined above, there is an alethic algorithmic process to show Concepts, as applied to any complex matter, are ab ovo shite?
The answer, obviously, is that maintaining an army of blathershites is itself a costly signal. Since such signals give rise to aposematism- i.e cheap talk mimicry- an initial uncorrelated asymmetry just found a way to reinforce itself dynamically.
One physical corollary to this is the emergence of chirality or 'incongruent counterparts' if complexity grows in a Time exponential to those of Physical processes.