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Political Anthropology - Science topic

Political Anthropology is the structure of political systems, looked at from the basis of the structure of societies.
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Does anyone here know scholarship, research, publication, or sources that would be good on the Latin/Roman treatment of "Societas"?
I am reaching out to the community here for some help to understand the use and character of "socius, socii" and "societas" in Roman and Latin customs.  I am very much interested in understanding the difference between what I take "societas" in Latin to mean (the relations among Rome and its Socii) and what the Greeks understood as koinonia.
I am also interested in Roman and Latin practice regarding "socius, socii" and "societas" and what Roman law had to say about the issue. So if can direct me to sources you think I should look at I would be very grateful.
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One of the main sources is Cicero, De Republica, text that translates the Aristotelian concept of "koinonia politike" by "societas civilis". It is probably a key development since "socius" was used to any kind of association from trade to other professional gatherings. Cicero explains that the specific difference which makes a people is to be the unit from a plurality (multitiudo) formed by association (sociatus), on the basis of a legal agreement (consensus juris) and a community of interest (communio utilitatis).
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Dear friends.
I have been been involved in journalism for the majority of my adult life, both as a talk radio host, but later also despite my aversion as a child as someone who writes articles, mainly in the sphere of politics and business for different outlets. During my radio days it was almost a natural law that if you covered a political event you had a guest from academia. This is something that has changed.
Today political commentators who are non academics and also not very neutral ( CNN, Fox etc) has taken over the role of the political scientist as the expert in the field.
Academia had a natural place in society for centuries but as of lately political and societal forces has undermined the legitimacy and the authority of academia and science it self as an institution. Former president Donald Trump is often seen as the first "Post truth president", a truth with modification perhaps. In the political arena, far right parties has challenged the very role of science in society and replaced it with spinn. Facts and counter-facts are words many of us have gotten used to as well as alternative facts, reminding us of the scientific streams that claims that there is no objective truth.
Why do you think this is? what are the implications and how can academia make it self relevant again? ( If it is not). Perhaps academia is losing its position as an institution?
Best Wishes Henrik
* Not only right wing parties has a problem with the truth, the same illness has been present also to the left of center.
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Academia is no more an independent institution of society. It’s role is to get supremacy over others, serving as spearhead of the destructive power structure.
Christian Jost is right to point to personal enrichment. The role of academia in society today is to enrich yourself, on the cost of the common good. Academia has become the spearhead to serve the global materialist consumer society.
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I am trying to start a project on the subject and your help would be appreciated
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Conflict and Peace Building in Divided Societies 1st Edition , Anthony Oberschall
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Conservative political thinking (Trump in the US, Bolsonaro in Brazil) is advancing in many countries. Apparently this has specific characteristics, related to the spirit of time (zeigeist). My research aims to know what types exist.
(I ask you to recommend this question to broaden its scope)
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Very much Critical w.r .t Social & Political Scienario.
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I am interested in research about the operational system of political decision-making and the barriers to good, longterm decisions. As to challenges like climate change, for example, it seems obvious that we would need cross-sectoral, systemic and solution-oriented collaborative processes instead of interested-based, short-term thinking (often along party lines and blocked between different ministries). Before we come up with proposals of institutional design we need to have a good empirical basis for where the barriers of good decision-making really are. Do you know of any? Perhaps research in ethnography or political anthropology?
Many thanks in advance!
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Thank you very much, Thierry.
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It has been said that our contemporary experience is that of the "lived dystopia" of Modernity. This social imaginary directly confronts the narrative of the "imminent threshold", the point of no return set in the near future, beyond which environmental degradation and other social problems are portrayed as definitely intractable. This question bears directly on our understanding of political hope in the present World: Should we hope to avoid the imminent catastrophe, or should the domain of hope rather be focused on coping with a dystopia that is already here?
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If you listen to the music of Nordic Giants, they hold the view that we already live in a dystopia. Indeed, they hold that humankind has lived in a dystopia for thousands of years (it is the typical human condtion), but that society has become more dystopic: with more powerful wars (given the weaponry we have had for the last 100 years), greater environmental damage, and increasing divisions (racism, sexism etc) in society. Their track 'Dystopia' sums it all up.
On the other hand, I would want to argue that Rosa Luxemburg, Robert Kurz and others are correct in arguing that capitalist barbarism, with the breakdown of capitalism, has not matured yet, but we are getting close to its realisation, especially when allied to environmental catastrophe (Kurz).
My own view is that communism exists within capitalist society: it sustains and supports capitalism, and is a suppressed form of life in capitalist society. But it is our hope: this hope is real, as opposed to pinning our hope on something turning up in the future (e.g. the invention of some new technology, or our politicians coming to their senses, the 2nd coming of Christ, or whatever).
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Undoubtedly Democracy is the best system, but is there any room of improvement?
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1- The democratic system of a democratic country should be taught in schools.
Have the students grow up with the idea that they are going to be the leaders of tomorrow and they must all be informed and engaged by making their voice heard through their vote. In most schools we do teach by example. We have student governments or voting systems when choices need to be made, etc.
2- Voting should be mandatory for all the adult citizens.
There should be some kind of system to set up to ensure that all the able citizens that are eligible to vote actually vote. ( I believe it is possible with the technology we have.)
I would like to see some kind of type of reward to all the citizens that vote. Of course, with a reward there might be some kind of consequence to those that vote.
An idea I have is to give the citizens a certain percentage, 5 % for example, added to their income tax returns if they are to receive a refund and by ricochet leave the refund as is if they do not vote.
For those that have to pay income tax, 5% would be deducted from the amount owed and again, nothing deducted for those that do not vote.
This is just an idea. Perhaps, others have better ideas.
Come to think of it, in my country, Canada, a 20$ Tim Horton gift card might do the trick. LOL
3- Transparency
Transparency must prevail at all echelons of governments.
Politicians have to be honest and actually care about the citizens that they need to vote for them. I am so tired of that shit.
4- Lobbyists
This way of doing deals behind closed doors with politicians should be illegal. No wonder, we, as voters, feel that these so called, democratic governments, are not representing the voice of the people but cater to those big multi nationals that basically bought them.
5- Career welfare transferred from one generation has to be dealt with somehow.
I do not have the perfect answer to this. In my life experience, I have seen this happen. Honestly, they seem to have a better life than those of us that are trying to be productive citizens to our country. Honestly, I think they are on to something.
I know of a family where the wife 'divorced' the husband in order to get welfare. The 'ex' still lives with his family and he too is on welfare and works 'under the table' and has extra undeclared income. They seem to live happy contented lives. Their kids are growing up in that kind of value system and it looks like they are on their way to having the kind of life their parents adopted.
6- Working under the table issue.
We all know it exists. I am sure billions of dollars of untaxed sales go uncollected.
I find that to be simply wrong. There is only so much money any democracy can squeeze out of the middle class that live more or less an honest life.
7- Freedom of speech
Coming from a democratic country, I feel blessed that I can express myself without the fear of being silenced by the leaders of my country.
As long as we are able to express ourselves and voice our concerns, perhaps in time we, as citizens, will MAKE a difference.
I mean, I can still hope that things will imporve... I hope.
8- Civil servant issue... Where do I begin!
Also, I truly believe that civil servants must try to be engaged in actually caring in giving a decent service to its citizens. With extreme passion I simply hate those  1-800 numbers where you end up in some obscure voice mail where no one returns your call. Or if you are lucky, the human on the other end of the phone transfers you and if you are lucky, an other human answers and again you are transferred to an other person on and on it goes until you end up in some obscure voice mail where you do not have the phone number of the actual idiot, I mean civil servant, that is supposed to give a hoot to solve your simple question. This way of doing things is immoral, in my opinion.
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Does political dominance of one community in a social location define their socio-economic dominance?
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Hi, Sukanta,
The precedence of political dominance over socioeconomic dominance is one of the central themes of Acemoglu and Robertson's book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. One of their central claims is that the political institutions that create property rights and investments in public education, for example, are preconditions for sustainable socioeconomic growth.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of a national elite ultimately constrains socioeconomic growth as the elite structure institutions to limit creative destruction to maintain the status quo in their own favor. Acemoglu and Robinson are quite critical of these extractive economies in their book, but do not really seem to take this argument to its logical end - the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few lead to their political dominance and the erosion of socioeconomic growth for the many.
In my view, it hardly matters whether wealth concentration is achieved through dictatorship or market forces. Wealth concentration leads inevitably to the weakening of political and social institutions that provide for fair distribution of socioeconomic gains.
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A writer had an open invitation to construct counternarratives based on her summary of groups who attended the "Battles of Berkeley"
What I am asking is a similar call for researchers to provide counternarrative extrapolations from these bullet points.
Pick one, or several, or all OR critique this method for its ability to effectively construct counternarratives. If you do critique, however, please provide more fruitful alternatives :)
MAIN MESSAGING FROM RALLIES (so you can make good counter messaging)
  • Anti-immigration/supports deportation & ICE
  • For Muslim ban
  • Anti-abortion and planned parenthood
  • Anti-government social safety nets like healthcare & snap
  • Mostly Christian
  • Passionately hate Obama and Hillary Clinton (still talks about them)
  • Love president Donald Trump no matter what he does
  • Propaganda pushers of false media
  • Blue Lives Matter
  • Obsessively against Communism
  • Pro-Western Culture, believe everyone should assimilate to their ideal state
  • Pro Confederate monument preservation
  • Fine with people of color (they really hate being called racist)
  • Anti-Black Lives Matter
  • Extremely Patriotic
  • In favor of traditional Male/Female roles (Patriarchy)
  • Fine with LGBT but against trans in the military (because Trump said so)
  • Pretty much anything Trump says they support, except white supremacy because again, they hate being called racist
  • *source link https://www.classic8media.com/news/2017/8/21/battle-for-the-bay-whats-the-real-message
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If I may,
the narrative is not relevant as a series of ideas, those ideas change,
especially given Trump's flip flopping. The narrative is based on groupthink around a personnality (trump) and leaders (pro trump figures, some of the republican leadership) though the identity itself is built, on opposition to mainstream elites, within the right wing. The most effective counter narrative would be to challenge the validity of the basis of the group or the narrative, to destabilize the current ideological bubble. Either showing that elites are just people that should not be opposed as a group, or to show that Trump is not deviating from the mainstream. That would be limited by the fact that the counter narrative cannot be deployed by people who would have interest in lying and can still be dismissed as a democrat plot. Ultimately, the only way to properly engage such a narrative is first on an individual basis, where group effects can be minimized, and then to put such objective and unquestionable points (to a Trump supporter not a liberal) that they would be listened to even if they are opposite to what the group's narrative is.
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Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the influential English political philosopher, claimed that the human condition without a government capable of enforcing peace and stability, and able to protect citizens from both internal and external threats to their well-being would be a perpetual "war of all against all". In such a condition, life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".
It can be inferred from his political thought, that any functioning government would be preferable to the conditions which would prevail without a government.  Hobbes has civil war in mind, specifically, when he thinks of the worst situations possible without intact government.  He would point to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia or to the chaos in Iraq currently, as examples of the conditions which would prevail without government.
On the other hand, many observers would point to the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century., such as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union to make the case that some governments are worse than no government at all. 
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I just want to share these quotes from two great leaders:
"I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans." - Manuel L. Quezon of the Philippines
“I beg you to accept that there is no people on earth who wouldn’t prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power.” - Mahatma Gandhi of India
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I would appreciate any suggestion.  Thank you very much.
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It might be interesting to look at the influence of Liberation Theology on various social movements. Phillip Berryman's book Liberation Theology (1987) is a very good introduction to the topic. 
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The focus is on presidents not presidencies/regimes. This is despite the fact that individuals/personalities matter a lot more than regimes in developing countries where they can override institutional checks and balances, in contrast to the case for developed economies where checks and balances are more effective in moderating an individual leader's position.
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It can be useful to check ISO 18091. It is way to measure quality in government
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The terminological borderlines enclosing the very notion of slavery are so shaky and so suspect of voluntary and situationally determined use, and the exact sets of economical, political, anthropological etc circumstances of a 'slave' in different historical contexts are so diverse, that - can one apply to the notion in its most wide sense any other definition then 'a state of one person being looked at by another one as an object having an appearance of a human being but lacking any right to be perceived as one'?
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Your definition recalls the discussions in Britain at the end of the 18the century about whether slaves should have their humanity fully recognised in which case the removal of their state of slavery would be required as then Christian ethics could require that to happen.  Of course that is exactly what happened.  The arguments against the 'emancipatory' position was not that they were not human but rather that the abolition of slavery would lead the owners (of property, i.e. slaves) to lose as free labour they suggested would be less productive than slave labour.
I define slavery properly so-called as: the ownership of one person and their descendants by another.  Anything else I would not call slavery.  I do recognise though that other forms of labour such as serfdom are sometimes almost indistinguishable from slavery.  In terms of the actual conditions for example of bonded labourers in the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century there were definitely points at which they may have been materially 'better off' under slavery.
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In this conference presentation, I talk about Swedes leaving The Church of Sweden; i.e., opting out of an ascribed identity as Evangelical Lutherans MAINLY FOR FINANCIAL GAIN (to save on Church membership fees). In other words, this is rational decision-making utilizing a cost-benefits approach. I seriously doubt that the choice to opt out of membership in the Church of Sweden has much to do with religious choice. I could be wrong, but for those leaving “The Church,” I think it is purely an economic choice based on money, not on religious conviction, or lack thereof. By contrast, I do think what has happened with secular Jews in Israel is a matter of conviction. Like Sweden, Israel has a mandatory Burial Tax and a large segment of its population consists of secular Jews (i.e., those who consider being Jewish an ethnicity and not a profession of religious faith). In Israel, these secular Jews became politically active to demand that civil (non-religious) burials be made available; and they succeeded: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/secular-burial-site-approved-in-jerusalem-1.74744
Burial is a significant rite of passage and most people have strong feelings about the burial rituals to be observed upon their passing. I can state this unequivocally as an attorney who specializes in Wills, Estates, and Trusts. I have prepared hundreds of end-of-life decision making documents (Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, inter vivos burial expense trusts, Donation of Body Parts documents, etc.) and know that clients give considerable thought to the contents of these death-planning documents. In Sweden, the inability to vote in The Church elections results in an inability to elect the leadership of The Church – the 250 odd “national officers” of The Church who determine how The Church’s obligation to provide for non-Lutheran burials in Sweden will be fulfilled. (For more on this, see “The Lives of Different Believers,” pp 62-70 of my dissertation—LEGISLATIVE TERRORISM, uploaded on RG.) It is The Church that administers all of the public graveyards in Sweden (except in Stockholm and the small town of Tranås); in this connection, it also establishes the amount of the Burial Tax, which is imposed on all taxpayers. Since there are practically no private graveyards in Sweden, The Church has a virtual monopoly on burial sites in the country.
Given this state of affairs, would it be unethical to make the rational choice to join The Church so that one has some say in which persons become the elected officials who dole out non-Lutheran burial space? Would it be more or less unethical if the person performing this costs-benefits analysis and joining The Church is a Catholic, Muslim, or Secular Humanist?
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Tack så mycket, Lars!  Det var precis den typ av svar som jag letade efter!  Och det där om Saami befolkningen var väldigt intressant.
Gwen
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I am looking for dataset from a Panel Survey where people regularily do a self-placement on the left-right political scale. At best: a lot of waves and an 11 point scale. The German SOEP and British BHPS don't have it or only in a very limited number of waves. ESS has it but is not a Panel.
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The Swiss Household Panel has a variable measuring respondents' self-placement on a left-right scale (11 points). This panel survey has been run annually since 1999 and I believe the left-right self-placement question has been asked in all waves so far. 
The data is collected and distributed by FORS. You can find more information on their website:
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It´s very important and urgent so every pic of information will be welcome!
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HASHMI, T. The" Bihari" Minorities in Bangladesh: Victims of Nationalisms'. Islam, Communities and the Nation: Muslim Identities in South Asia, 1996.‏
as well as 
Sen, Sumit. "Stateless Refugees and the Right to Return: The Bihari Refugees of South Asia Part 1." International Journal of Refugee Law 11.4 (1999): 625-645.‏
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Is there any literature on this? I wonder how and if corruption scandals or greater visibility of political figures associated with corruption influentiate people's decision on everyday ethical/professional dilemmas.
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If one searches about "corrupt political leaders" in Google, many sites will give names of recent & historical leaders & their crimes are summarized as stealing public money & committing mass killings. Of course, these crimes are too bad but other crimes ought to be emphasized such as their destruction of the social fabric & their invasion on the individual & collective minds causing new sets of attitudes & behaviors which can adapt to slavery. When there is surrender to dictators, cowardice, ignorance of real political games, and widespread of hypocrisy then there is little hope of progress. When the "creepy" dishonest is raised  while the sincere honest is marginalized & this is accepted, then the corrupt politicians will keep on riding the people as if they are riding donkeys.  
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Jirga system in Pakistan and Afghanistan
Panchayat System in India and South Punjab Pakistan
Dera system in Pakistan
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You need to study conflict resolution models/theories and chose from them..
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Transparency in political decision-making is often proposed as a remedy to failures of the political agency. However, a small number of recent theoretical contributions (e.g. Prat 2005 or Fox 2007) discuss potential negative consequences of transparency in political decision-making on the quality of policy outcomes and representation of voter preferences, particularly when actions of politicians such as individual votes are recorded and made publicly available.
We (Stadelmann et al. 2014) try to identify the impact of transparency in political decision-making on the quality of political representation with a difference-in-difference strategy. The quality of political representation is measured by the observed divergence of parliamentary decisions from revealed voter preferences on identical issues. Full transparency of actions of individual politicians does not decrease divergence from voter preferences.
When can transparency of individual actions of politicians pose problems?
Can transparency alone have a significant effect on the quality of political representation or does it need to be complemented with other institutional reforms?
Cited references:
Fox, J. (2007), 'Government Transparency and Policymaking', Public Choice 131(1-2), 23-44.
Prat, A. (2005), 'The Wrong Kind of Transparency', American Economic Review 95(3), 862-877.
Stadelmann, D.; Portmann, M. & Eichenberger, R. (2014), 'Full Transparency of Politicians' Actions Does Not Increase the Quality of Political Representation', Journal of Experimental Political Science 1, 16-23.
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I am not sure you can measure the quality of political representation based on the closeness of politicians actions to voters’ claimed preference.
First, what “the people” say they want may or may not reflect what they actually want, a social desirability bias factors into any poll. Additionally poll questions are often flawed, poll the wrong people (Dewy Wins) or just use other combinations of bad methods. an aggregate “poll of polls” or FiveThirtyEight-style model does better than using a single poll, but still has flaws.
Second, representatives are elected to make the hard choices (theoretically) that are in the best interest (theoretically) of his/her constituents, constituency and area the body represents (municipality, state, country). This could be in direct conflict with the will of the people, but in the best interest of the people.
Third, even with more access than ever before, those not elected, and those who’s jobs do not involve following every political movement do not have the time to know every detail of every policy. And even officials an the “political class” do not have the time to do this for every issue. That is one of the reasons representative democracy has existed for thousands of years. We, the unelected have to put these decisions in the hands of others.
Would not high-quality representation be an instance of a lawmaker taking an unpopular vote he/she knows is right, and ultimately turns out to be a “good” vote, but could cost his/her seat in the next election? Is that not why these people are elected?
Not to dive too much into the realm of fiction, but full transparency by politicians is explored in Dave Eggers 2013 novel “The Circle.” In the novel, politicians from the municipal to national level wear body cameras and record their every interaction as do their staffs.
Full transparency in this regard is impossible, first because it creates a tremendous amount of data that needs to be sorted, indexed and quantified. Second there is information that cannot be recorded. In the U.S. one Senate committee promised to keep the identity of a Senator who proposed tax-reform ideas secret for 50 years because of the potential backlash of “doing the right thing” or “taking bold steps.”
I support transparency, but am not sure what you mean by that. Is it televising and steaming all hearings and proceedings? Is it posting every interaction a member has? Staff? Posting public schedules? Private schedules?
I am sure this all reflected my U.S.-based view of the world where we do not have a parliamentary model, and where proportional representation does not exist at the national, state or largely municipal level (although it might somewhere). Here we elect individuals for a fixed set of years (2, 4 or 6 at the national level with Judges appointed for a period of good behavior, usually life or retirement) and do not call for elections on a national level outside of our national election day, although there are always special elections to fill open seats.
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I still don't see any other viable and meaningful alternative to economic liberalism (democracy) except socialist democratic alternative that emerged in parts of Latin America in recent years. Without it, we are permanently damned to discuss the non-politics of the apolitical politicians. Those who disagree will do me a favor.
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Considering the world-wide impact of the book 'Capital in the 21st Century', by French economist Thomas Piketty, and its meaning for social priorities and goals, I am pleased to send you my attached evaluation of this book. I hope this will inspire your reflections about the moments we are going through. Kind regards,
Ronaldo Campos Carneiro – June 2014
Brasília - DF - Brasil
About Piketty’s Book on Capital -
The Answer of a convinced Liberal
After fifteen years of research (1998-2013) aimed at understanding the historical dynamics of income and wealth in around 20 countries, mainly in the last 200 years, analysing remarkable facts about humanity such as the industrial revolution, world conflicts and economic crises, using and harmonizing data broadly accepted by credible institutions like the World Bank, the UN and the IMF, this French Professor at the Paris School of Economics, Thomas Piketty, aged 43, came to the conclusion that:
Capitalism, or what is left of it, just as it is now put in practice or crony capitalism is heavily concentrating income and wealth, in a process where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Estimates for the XXI century are alarming and define human coexistence as unfeasible under the rules prevailing nowadays.
The current market competition is like an athletic race in which some are well fed and have access to health assistance and education, whereas crowds of excluded are left far behind: the minimally decent atitude is to place them on the same starting line or to equal their opportunities at the beginning of the race.
“The 85 richest people in the world, who could fit into a single London double-decker, control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population– that is 3.5 billion people”.
“Strong inequality is corrosive of growth; it is corrosive for society. I believe that economists and politicians ignored inequality for too long.” (Christine Lagarde, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund)
I personally think that these conclusions are irrefutable. No scholar will, after Piketty’s research, ignore the enormous social exclusion generated by capitalism, or the urgent need of actions to revert this dramatic situation. Inequality is complicating the market economy. One must never forget that the economy depends on supply and demand – it is useless to have supply facing a reduction in demand, or vice-versa. No one, but a liberal dreamer, can imagine that the economy will operate with supply only! Economics is a science where agents are regulated by the inexorable law of supply and demand. Politics is an art where the human will prevails. This is the reason why they cannot blend: economics and politics have diferent natures.
My complete agreement with Piketty’s conclusions also take me to a complete disagreement with his recommendations of a progressive tax and a global tax on wealth. This would be a shortcut to hell: it would mean more government, bureaucracy, war, corruption or, in the economic view, it would transfer assets from the domain of supply and demand to the changing human will of bureaucrats and politicians – an antechamber to hell. Nothing is more predatory than the action of governments in the economy – indebtedness is what governments know how to do, and they do it unreservedly.
“Deficits mean future tax increases, nothing less. The increase of deficits must be seen as a tax on future generations, and the politicians who create deficits should be judged as tax generators”. (Ron Paul, former US Senator – Republican).
Our generation has been the victim of decisions from past generations, that increased indebtedness, just like future generations will have to pay for the inconsequence of our own generation, that expanded those debts even further. The European discussion about austerity or Keynesian stimuli mean to penalize our generation or our descendants. The problem is that policy makers search immediate applause, transfering the solution of structural problems to the future. These are inconsequent acts, showing no concern with future generations.
“Do not forget that I have found out that more than ninety percent of all the national deficits, from 1921 to 1939, were caused by the payment of past, present and future wars” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
“People do not make war. It is the governments that make it” (Ronald Reagan)
I would go back to the time of the American Revolution – “You will never strengthen the weak by weakening the strong” – and to the moments when the French Revolution was promising “liberty, fraternity and equality”.
Inequality of opportunities in human coexistence has been generating the most terrible process of domination and human bondage: the dictatorship of bureaucracy. The enormous amount of financial resources under the power of the State, to be allocated by acts of human will, stimulates an unbridled race of unscrupulous politicians in search of power at any cost; “They do not disdain, in certain cases, to associate with cheating, fraud and corruption”, to use the words of Vilfredo Pareto.
It would be very efficient and useful if economic policymakers became convinced that applying more measures under the same keynesian references they would come to the same results. We must migrate to another reference frame if we wish to improve our development process.
Economic rulers must be aware of the fact that: “If they do only what they have always done, they will end up having what they always had”. Piketty’s proposition, however, is for more of the same, and it would certainly lead to poor results.
The relation between income and wealth is like a river flowing to a dam, where income is the variable of flow or the fluidity of the river, and wealth is the variable of stock or the accumulation in the dam. They both have the same nature, because wealth is no more than accumulated labour, and only labour can generate wealth. Piketty proved that there are some who harvest without planting, or who generate wealth with the labour of others; when the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of economic progress, it results in predatory accumulation. This is the patrimonialist economy, that produces income from inherited family properties or from political connections: to be a friend of the king produces more than merit or competence. It would be risible, were it not tragic, to imagine that the control of financial flows (currency, exchange and credit) can generate development, as suggested by Keynes. Only productive labour can generate capital.
“Labor exists before, and is independent from capital. Capital is just the fruit of labor and it would never exist without the previous existence of labor. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much more consideration.”
This truth expressed by Abraham Lincoln must be recognized by all the zombies who are wandering, lost and disconnected from the basic concepts of economics.
One must not criticize without a corresponding proposition. The solution is not among the tools of economic theory, but in the scope of politics, by means of a broad, full and true agreement around a new Social Pact, in which nutrition, health and education will become a responsibility of the private productive process, after the corresponding reduction of taxes by the government, who will also reduce its interference in the economy. Instead of transferring resources from the rich to the poor, this pact will equal opportunities concerning nutrition, health care and education. I do not mean philanthropy, but a new concept of human labor as a process of transformation of human energy in physical or intelectual energy. This would replace the changing logic of ideas –ideology- by the invariable logic of life – biology. Of course, entrepreneurs will not act out of philanthropy: full productive labor will be the broker of this agreement of wills.
This idea is perfectly simple: Piketty proved that after centuries of distributive measures in all countries, in which resources were transferred from the rich to the poor, the result was more social exclusion.
To prohibit wealth with a ceiling on income, as Piketty proposes, means to weaken the strong to strengthen the weak. Better would be, instead of a ceiling on income, to establish a groundfloor, so as to permit wealth and prohibit poverty, in an open system that would open the pressure cooker after the progressive dissipation of pressure.
Let us equal, for all, the access to nutrition, health care and education, and liberate all the tools and values of the market economy.
It was these values that made the West prosperous since the XIX Century and their efficiency has been confirmed.
Instead of terming this my proposition utopic, theoretical or unfeasible, one must keep in mind that the complete liberation of prices and wages will lead us to full productive labour, that is: salaries will be ascending – there will be no need to establish a minimum wage – imagine the Industrial Revolution, at the beginning of the XIX Century.
“Governamental institutions:
a) protect the powerful and interest groups;
b) generate hostility, corruption and hopelessness;
c) hinder prosperity; and
d) repress free expression and the opportunities of individuals”. (IMB - Mises Institute).
I offer, below, some challenges in the scope of this proposition, for the reader to ponder:
1) the agricultural sector and the reversion of migration to the cities;
2) health care, education and the power in the hands of the private sector; profit linked to people health.
3) the financial sector and its incapability in the purchase and sale of papers having monetary expression.; Christine Lagarde: “crisis has prompted a major course correction—with the understanding that the true role of the financial sector is to serve, not to rule, the economy.
As Winston Churchill once remarked, “I would rather see finance less proud and industry more content”.
4) the political area and the prevention of speculation when resources are reduced.
Finally: In a Soccer World Cup or in the Olympic Games, just imagine how the competition would happen if political or bureaucratic influences were present in the choice of teams or in the rules of the games!
“In Hell, the hottest places are reserved for those who chose neutrality in times of crisis’. (Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Lets learn with the best lessons of Von Mises:
• If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.
• Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
• Governments become liberal only when forced to by the citizens.
• Both force and money are impotent against ideas.
THE GREAT DIVIDE 2014, JUN 27 6:16 PM 793
Inequality Is Not Inevitable
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
“We need not just a new war on poverty but a war to protect the middle class. Solutions to these problems do not have to be newfangled. Far from it. Making markets act like markets would be a good place to start. We must end the rent-seeking society we have gravitated toward, in which the wealthy obtain profits by manipulating the system.
The problem of inequality is not so much a matter of technical economics. It’s really a problem of practical politics. Ensuring that those at the top pay their fair share of taxes — ending the special privileges of speculators, corporations and the rich — is both pragmatic and fair. We are not embracing a politics of envy if we reverse a politics of greed. Inequality is not just about the top marginal tax rate but also about our children’s access to food and the right to justice for all. If we spent more on education, health and infrastructure, we would strengthen our economy, now and in the future. Just because you’ve heard it before doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it again.
Widening and deepening inequality is not driven by immutable economic laws, but by laws we have written ourselves”.
Conference on Inclusive Capitalism
By Christine Lagarde
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
London, May 27, 2014
“A greater concentration of wealth could—if unchecked—even undermine the principles of meritocracy and democracy. It could undermine the principle of equal rights proclaimed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Pope Francis recently put this in stark terms when he called increasing inequality “the root of social evil”.
It is therefore not surprising that IMF research—which looked at 173 countries over the last 50 years—found that more unequal countries tend to have lower and less durable economic growth”.
Best wishes,
Ronaldo Campos Carneiro – June 2014
To understand Piketty’s book:
http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/en/capital21c2 - Paris School of Economics
Skidelsky’s blog –
“Too Much”: Special Thomas Piketty issue (26 May – Sam Pizzigati
John Weeks – “Why is ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ (C21C) Such a Success”? 30 May 2014
Debate Piketty and Senator Elizabeth Warren
I also suggest reading the texts on this subject by:
David Harvey (“Afterthoughts on Piketty’s Capital”), plus Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrick, Joseph Stiglitz, Lawrence Summers, Robert Solow, James Galbraith.
---------------------------------------
From: Thomas Piketty <thomas.piketty@psemail.eu>
Date: 2014-06-13 3:37 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE : Piketty’s Capital - The Answer of a convinced Liberal
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Thanks Ronaldo, I appreciate it. Best, Thomas
__________________
Thomas Piketty
Ecole d'Economie de Paris/Paris School of Economics
Page personnelle : http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/
From: Thomas Piketty <thomas.piketty@psemail.eu>
Date: 2014-07-02 7:38 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: Piketty’s "Capital" - The answer of a convinced liberal
To: Ronaldo Carneiro <rcarneiro@salutecafe.com.br>
Thanks Ronaldo, this is a very interesting reaction! Best, Thomas
_______________
Thomas Piketty
Ecole d'Economie de Paris/Paris School of Economics
Page personnelle : http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/
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From: Hector Julio Melchiori - june,13,2014
Creo que la diferencias comienzan en los tres primeros años de vida al no tener nivelado el alimento, ya que el intelecto se relaciona con la primera capacidad de ingesta, luego ya es tarde.
CREO QUE LA IGUALDAD DE OPORTUNIDADES DEBE NACER ALLÍ, DESPUÉS MISMA EDUCACION Y MISMA INSTRUCCIÓN, LA EDUCACION SE DA EN EL HOGAR, PERO SI TENEMOS PADRES NO EDUCADOS, QUE A SU VEZ SON HIJOS DE OTROS PADRES NO EDUCADOS , VAMOS PEOR.
POR ULTIMO LA INSTRUCCIÓN SE DA EN LOS COLEGIOS QUE DEBERÍAN DAR LAS MISMAS POSIBILIDADAES PARA TODOS, CON ESAS TRES COSAS ARRANCAMOS A UN FUTURO MEJOR,
ES MI PERSONAL OPINIÓN QUE NO TIENE PORQUE SER NADA MAS QUE MI VERDAD, QUE ES ABSOLUTA SOLO PARA MÍ, PERO TODOS TIENEN EL DERECHO A TENER SUS VERDADES PROPIAS Y PARA ELLOS SERÁN VERDADES ABSOLUTAS TAMBIÉN,
LO QUE HACE FALTA ES CONCORDAR PARTE DE LAS OPINIONES DE UN GRAN NÚMERO DE PERSONAS DISPUESTAS A TRABAJAR PERO QUE SABEN QUE ELLOS NO VERÁN LOS FRUTOS,
ESO ES PARA LAS GENERACIONES VENIDERAS
"SI TODOS CUMPLIERAMOS CON NUESTROS DEBERES HABRIA MENOS PERSONAS RECLAMANDO POR SUS DERECHOS" GHANDI DIXIT.
ATTE. MELCHIORI.
---------------------------------------------------------------
From: Pedro Schwartz <pedro@pedroschwartz.com> june,13,2014
Dear Mr. Carneiro:
I find what you say complicated and will think on it. However, I think Piketty is wrong in his forecast of the future of capitalism.
Sincerely
---------------------------------------------
Dhian Chand <mdhianchand@hotmail.com> june.14,2014
2006-7 DG - 3080 District
Shimla Him. Pr. India
Dear PDG Ronaldo Carneiro,
Thank you for sending me your evaluation of Piketty's Capital - the answer of a convinced liberal. You have motivate me to buy and read his book "Capital in the 21st Century". You have rightly concluded in the last four points, the people responsible to create balance in the social economic status in the society. However, the question remained unanswered that politicians and bureaucrats have no limit for their greed for money and power which ultimately encourage corruption in the country and war between neighbouring countries. If we are able to influence these two category of our society the balance in distribution of economic growth will be maintained and there will be no poor in the modern world which due to technology evolution has become one a global village.
Regards
Dhian Chand
--------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Anthony de Jasay <jasay@wanadoo.fr> 14/6/14
Dear Mr. Carneiro,
I have had your letter of 13 June read to me (as you may know I have lost my eyesight long ago). I agree with most of it , but as you must know very well it is not by condemning politics and politicians for being toxic and nasty that thay will become any less harmful. They are a probably inevitable product of one man, one vote.
Yous sincerely,
Anthony de Jasay
-----------------------------------------------
From: Stephen Raudenbush - 13/6/14
Dear Ronald
Thanks for sending this. I have admired your work and made very good use of your book with James Heckman on inequality.
I do have a few questions
* Why are key elements of Sen's "human development index" so much better in the European social democracies than in the US?
* Why have the countries that employed a Keynesian stimulus done so much better during the recession than countries that used the recession to reduce government spending?
I believe you have offered a false choice between heavy government involvement and light government involvement. All sides are competing to use the government to support their own special interest. If the government does not intervene to insure child care, education, health, housing, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and social security for the elderly, and protect the environment, the result will not be a utopian laissez faire society. Instead, government resources will be directed entirely to prop up agri-business, build roads to support real estate developers, save failing banks, generate unneeded contracts for lobbyists, etc. In sum, we will have neither social democracy nor laissez faire but rather socialism for the rich, which is pretty much what the US has now.
Why did you not comment on our extraordinarily corrupt political system in which running for low level offices now requires millions of dollars? Where huge firms literally dictate legislation to the office holders they have bankrolled?
I would propose a government role that does the good things I mentioned above while aggressively intervening against oligopoly and favoritism to insure competition in the market place. The government can be a friend of the free market and a friend of meritocracy while insuring basic necessities, particularly for the children and the elderly, and supporting human capital development.
Sincerely
Steve Raudenbush
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From: William Anderson - 13/6/14
If these points are true, then are you saying that the vast amount of people are materially poorer than they were, say, in 1980? That they have fewer goods and services available to them now than they had then?
It seems to me that the theories depend upon (1) homogeneous capital (capital as a lump of stuff that is useful primarily for how much is spent in creating and accumulating it), and (2) underconsumption. We have been getting underconsumption theories at least since “Fable of the Bees.”
Now, we do have a lot of what is called crony capitalism today, in which owners of capital, through political alliances, are able to force resources into a direction that would not be profitable (or would be less profitable) without the government intervention. However, from what I can tell, Piketty is not so worried about this development. Piketty would prefer lots of people to be poor to make Bill Gates and a few other people pay more taxes.
If Piketty’s thesis is true, then the vast majority of people today are poorer than were the people of the early 1800s, when the development of large-scale capital really took off in Great Britain and in Europe. Are you prepared to say that? Think of the logic of his thesis; are you prepared to claim that a larger percentage of people are poor today (and living in worse conditions) than were people of the early 1800s?
Then, to follow Piketty’s logic, the bifurcated returns to capital (versus ordinary income growth) would have to be consistent from the very start. Thus, you are having to claim that the poor today are poorer than the vast majority of people in the early 19th Century. Can you empirically justify that statement?
-----------------------------------------------
From: g.reisman@capitalism.net - 13/6/14
Dear Mr. Carneiro:
Thank you for your review of Piketty.
Attached, please find a copy of my review of him, which I’ve just posted to my blog.
Sincerely,
George Reisman
--------------------------------------------
june, 16, 2014
Dear fellow Rotarian Ronaldo Carneiro,
thank you very much. your thoughts on the book of Piketty are very interesting, especially in this period we are going through.
I will continue to reflect on this, and I will send it to my daughter who is studying Economics.
Many greetings.
Salvatore Sarpietro
2007-08 DG – 2110 District
-----------------------------------------------------------
Benegas-Lynch, Jr., Alberto
National Academy of Sciences, Argentina
abenegaslynch@yahoo.com – june,20,2014
Dear Ronaldo Carneiro, thak you for sending your papers that I will read with great interest. In the meanwhile, I copy one of my weakly columns on the subject. Cordially, Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr
------------------------------------------------------
From: Jeff Deist
jeffdeist@mises.org - june,20,2014
Excellent, thank you. Jeff
--------------------------------------------------------
From: Floy Lilley <floylilley@mises.com>
Date: 2014-06-20 17:29 GMT-03:00
Subject: Re: About Pikettys Book on Capital - The answer of a convinced liberal
To: Ronaldo Carneiro <rcarneiro@salutecafe.com.br>
Hello Mr. Carneiro,
Your enthusiasm for this project is palpable. That's a fine way to feel about whatever you do.
You embrace Piketty's work in ways that I do not. I do not find that he proves his thesis.
Thank you for having thought of me.
Best,
Floy Lilley
---------------------------------------------
From: Rev. Robert A. Sirico <rsirico@acton.org>
Date: 2014-06-21 13:30 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: About Piketty’s Book on Capital - The Answer of a convinced Liberal
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Dear Ronaldo:
Your email arrive just as I had begun reading Pikettey’s book Capital, so I shall now do so with your critique in mind.
Many thanks,
Fr. Robert A. Sirico,
President
The Acton Institute
-------------------------------------------------------
From: Gary North <gnorth@poetworld.net>
Date: 2014-06-23 9:02 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: About Piketty’s Book on Capital - The Answer of a convinced Liberal
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Don't start with Pikkety. Start woth Pareto: 1897
From: Jaana Woiceshyn <jwoiceshyn@gmail.com>
Date: 2014-07-11 1:29 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: Why competition is good and regulation bad
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Thank you, Ronaldo.—My silence does not imply anything but me being swamped and not being able to find the time to correspond—sorry. I hope my life will get less busy soon. But in general, I disagree with Piketty’s thesis. Inequality is a non-issue! Regards, Jaana
From: Noam Chomsky <chomsky@mit.edu>
Date: 2014-07-11 1:56 GMT-03:00
Subject: Piketty’s "Capital" - The answer of a convinced liberal
To: Ronaldo Carneiro <rcarneiro@salutecafe.com.br>
Thanks for sending. Hope to get to it soon.
Date: 2014-07-18 5:41 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: Inequalities
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Hello,
Thank you so much for your email below.
Unfortunately, Profile books do not accept unsolicited material. However, we do recommend the following websites as industry standard for gaining a reputable agent as well as other tips for publishing. Please do not pay an agent either – this is usually not a good sign.
• Writers and Artists yearbook
• Preditors and editors
• Absolute write
We most certainly wish you the best with getting published.
Kind regards,
Olu
*****************************************
Olu Ubadike
Office Manager
Profile Books
3A Exmouth House
Pine Street
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From: Ieva NAVICKAITĖ <Ieva@llri.lt>
Date: 2014-08-01 4:07 GMT-03:00
Subject: RE: Inequalities
To: Ronaldo campos carneiro <rcarneiro4@gmail.com>
Thank you for sharing, Ronaldo. It will be very interesing to read your remarks on Piketty‘s book. Let‘s keep in touch.
Best wishes. Ieva
Christopher Spackman comentou sua publicação.
Christopher escreveu: "Thanx for the article. Thoughts. 1. Agree that capitalism is well on the way to eating itself 2. Agree that war is a major problem. Nation states have abrogated the right to billions of unprofitable dollars. 3. Agree that answer is probably not a 'ceiling' but a 'floor' - in other words, the tax system. If the 'haves' agree to pay generously, then the problems you point out with health, education, etc. will disappear. The problem occurs when the 'haves' think they own their money and try to hold it all. Conclusion: a neat summary of the problem ;-) Christopher"
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