The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
alan
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:17 am

No, the military-industrial complex did not create this crisis. It is financial in origin.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:30 am

David:
Your idea that the Fed responded to war spending by lowering interest rates is...interesting. I can't find a reason to believe it.
The Bush tax cuts were run through the CBO for 10 years, and the effect was well known. War spending happened later, and was off the books.
As we all know, the economy fell due to a credit freeze, precipitated by the collapse of several giant financial institutions.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by chownah » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:32 am

mindfullmom wrote: 3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?
mindfullmom,
First....forget about Communists....there really isn't much of a communist movement in the US anymore....Communism has pretty much been shown to not work....all of the countries in the world which are referred to as being "communist" really aren't communist....for instance China...can they really be considered communist when they have a stock market?....most people would say that a real communist country could not have a stock market.

Second, Anarchists.......there is an active anarchist movement in the US and I believe that your idea that they have hijacked the movement is mistaken.....in fact I think that if you study what has happened you will see that the core founders of the movement and the core which is continuing to attempt to move it forward are either anarchists or other radicals who are knowingly working with anarchists........basically it seems that anarchists created the movement.....this can be readily seen in the social structures they have created....the way they make their decisions and the facts that they have no leaders and no officially stated views or agendas (more or less).

So, anarchists did not hijack the movement.....more or less they started it and have run it from day one....
chownah

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:45 am

Those institutions failed because they had been basically running a fraudulent enterprise, based upon a complex scheme of selling loans which they knew would eventually fail. They took advantage of a system based upon Capitalist ideology, in which making money is always good, and concern for society as a whole was seen as a sucker's game.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by DNS » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:13 am

alan wrote:No, the military-industrial complex did not create this crisis. It is financial in origin.
The military-industrial-complex is financial -- to the tune of trillions of dollars.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by DNS » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:14 am

retrofuturist wrote: It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/ ... ning-u.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)
Yes, I agree. Excellent article, thanks.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:21 am

xkcd casts his own gleam of light on the situation, at http://xkcd.com/980/
To my mind, the lower right quadrant of the green chart is particularly relevant, but the whole thing provides plenty of food for thought.

:namaste:
Km

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Jason
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by Jason » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings David, all,

It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/ ... ning-u.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)

Metta,
Retro. :)
Interesting enough, Lenin argued that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism, a phase or stage of economy as opposed to merely a policy preferred by finance capital. Number 2 in his list of basic features of imperialism seems especially relevant: "the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this 'finance capital', of a financial oligarchy." The pamphlet is worth reading if you have the time.
Last edited by Jason on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by DNS » Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:56 pm

Jason wrote: Interesting enough, Lenin argued that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism, a phase or stage of economy as opposed to merely a policy preferred by finance capital. Number 2 in his list of basic features of imperialism seems especially relevant: "the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this 'finance capital', of a financial oligarchy." The pamphlet is worth reading if you have the idea.
I disagree with Lenin, since Lenin himself was one of the biggest imperialists. The communists were intent on taking over the world by whatever means with however many lives needed to be killed for their philosophy.

A true capitalist is opposed to government intervention, opposed to state sponsored and subsidized industries (including defense). The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is the most laissez-faire capitalist and while I don't agree with everything in their platform, to their credit, they are opposed to maintaining the empire, opposed to the growth of the military-industrial-complex.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by Jason » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:17 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I disagree with Lenin, since Lenin himself was one of the biggest imperialists. The communists were intent on taking over the world by whatever means with however many lives needed to be killed for their philosophy.
I think you may be conflating Lenin with what took place under Stalinist Russia. The two are not analogous, in my opinion.
A true capitalist is opposed to government intervention, opposed to state sponsored and subsidized industries (including defense). The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is the most laissez-faire capitalist and while I don't agree with everything in their platform, to their credit, they are opposed to maintaining the empire, opposed to the growth of the military-industrial-complex.
It doesn't really matter what they say they're opposed to, however. Simply looking at the way things actually are, as well as they way they've been trending the past few decades, one can see that US actions, polices, and, I would argue, very economic structure in general are indeed imperialistic in the way Lenin defined it, and follow much the same pattern as Lenin laid out in in his 1916 pamphlet, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

As for the rest, I doubt deny that many libertarians have some good ideas and intentions (and I think they exact same can be said of socialists); but looking at the reality of the situation and comparing it to what Lenin and other critical theorists have said about the evolution of capitalism, I think there's reason to take their analyses seriously. That doesn't mean, of course, that I believe Lenin's analysis to be 100% correct, but I do think both Prof. Kennedy's and Lenin's ideas have merit, and are worth considering in tandem.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by mindfullmom » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:31 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's a classic example of "imperial overstretch"...

Imperial Overstretch: Is A Bloated Defense Budget Weakening the U.S.?
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/252813/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... ning-u.htm

The Buddha did not encourage spending beyond one's means, but it would seem historically inevitable (is it a case of ego and fear/aversion run amok?)
I personally can agree with much of that but I find myself torn on it as well. Mostly I take the view of getting the US out of all those countries but then I think about all the convoluted relationships our Presidents have gotten us into over the years and I do not think it would be easy to untangle ourselves from it.

The article above may have a fatal flaw in it's reasoning that sort of sinks the whole idea though:
Basically, the United States has spent $5 trillion too much on the U.S. Department of Defense over the past 20 years -- i.e allocated a staggering $250 billion a year too much to the Pentagon that instead should have funded social programs and served as resources for other civilian needs. The egregiousness of the miscalculation is stunning: there was no reason for the U.S. to spend this extra amount on defense during this period -- the Cold War was over, and no other power represented a territorial threat to the United States, and certainly not an existential threat.
No reason? Really? That is clearly an opinion. Just because the "threat" does not wear a uniform or come in the name of a specific country, doesn't mean there's no threat. The way a threat "looks" these days is very different from any other time in history and this has changed the game. Call me naive but I'm always confused when the US is called imperialistic when we have not expanded our boarders to include new acquisitions anytime in recent history and when we are going into countries that have either continuously attacked our interests or have such atrocious human rights violations against their own people, that the majority of the population welcomes us when we get there. Maybe I am naive but I don't see that as the wrong "side" to be on. Again, I would rather us not be there at all some days but I can't see the comparison of the US to the expansionism of the British Empire and the Soviet Union.

My original questions for the occupiers still stand if anyone is interested to answer them:
So I ask,
1. Are you equally upset with the Party you most closely align with?
2. What should be the solution ie what do you want to see happen and what will satisfy everyone so that they no longer Occupy?
3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?
I do agree with you Chownah on the anarchists running the show but I didn't have any facts at the moment to back that up.

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Jason
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by Jason » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:34 am

mindfullmom wrote:1. Are you equally upset with the Party you most closely align with?
I'm an independent and don't align myself with any political party, so the question is irrelevant. I'm upset with all political parties equally. :D
2. What should be the solution ie what do you want to see happen and what will satisfy everyone so that they no longer Occupy?
The short answer is that there is no single solution, especially one that will satisfy everyone since it's such a broad movement. In addition, I agree with Matt Taibbi that right now the movement needs to grow more than it needs to be specific about what 'it' wants.

As for myself, I'd ideally like to see a radical economic transformation in which the exploitation, alienation, and commodity fetishism of the present system are gradually eliminated via a more socialized mode of production. However, at the very least, I wouldn't mind seeing the movement get behind things like single-payer, universal healthcare, taxing speculators and getting rid of the Bush tax cuts, repealing part or all of the blatantly anit-union Taft-Hartley Act, a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood, and a massive decrease in military spending for starters.
3. What do you make of the violence that has erupted? Do you think it is just a result of the Communists and Anarchists hi jacking the movement and wanting to destroy capitalism or is that the option that most are looking for?
The state is beginning to feel threatened. The vast majority of the protesters have been peaceful, including the self-identified anarchists, communists, and socialists, and the vast majority of the violence that has occurred has been at the hands of police using batons, pepper-spray, and tear gas to remove occupiers from parks, college campuses, and city streets.
I do agree with you Chownah on the anarchists running the show but I didn't have any facts at the moment to back that up.
That's probably because there aren't any facts to back such an assertion. Each individual occupation is diverse and made up by different demographics. While many anarchists are certainly drawn to the occupy movement and were instrumental in getting the movement started, they don't run 'it,' nor are they all as violent as people try to paint them. Many are like author and teacher Dan Graeber, for example.
Last edited by Jason on Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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alan
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:44 am

mindfullmoon: You're naive.
And you don't back up your opinions with facts, which is ridiculous.
Take a clue from Jason, who presents a well-reasoned argument backed by solid research and relevant information.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:47 am

David:
Yes, military spending can be broadly understood as falling under the category of "financial", if you insist on stretching the term. But it was not the cause of the crisis.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Post by alan » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:00 am

Military spending, by the way, is the ultimate example of wealth re-distribution. In this case, it goes to giant corporations who manufacture weapons and their support systems. Corporations which glean huge profits from government spending and then don't pay taxes.

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