Daily Archives: October 17, 2016

The Cashless Society Is a Creepy Fantasy

By Elaine Ou – t’s fun to imagine a world without cash.

Money belongs to its current holder. It doesn’t matter if a banknote was lost or stolen at some point in the past. Money is current; that’s why it’s called currency! A bank deposit, however, grants custody of money to the bank.

An account balance is not actually money, but a claim on money.

This is an important distinction. A claim is only as good as its enforceability, and in a cashless society every transaction must pass through a financial gatekeeper. Banks, being private institutions, have the right to refuse transactions at their discretion. We can’t expect every payment to be given due process.

The crime-fighting case against cash is overstated.

The one benefit of replacing cash with claims on cash is that a claim can be discounted, canceled or seized. That doesn’t sound terribly beneficial to most people, but this attribute is attractive to a growing contingent that wants to send interest rates into negative territory.

Money may be a shared illusion, but cash abolitionists are in a hallucination all their own. more> https://goo.gl/F8bsrp

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How Capitalism Fosters Bullying

BOOK REVIEW

Bully Nation: How the American Establishment Creates a Bullying Society, Authors: Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass.

By Mark Karlin, Charles Derber and Yale R. Magrass – Bullying has been a means of controlling people, putting them in “their place,” for perhaps as long as there have been humans. Until about 20 years ago, it was dismissed as “normal,” a rite of passage that children and adolescents must go through and “get over.”

We live in militarized capitalism. Capitalism assumes competition — winners and losers. Militarism requires violence, aggression and submission to authority. Bullying builds these very traits. Psychology is inadequate to understand the cause and power of bullying. Indeed, bullying is about power, and psychology hardly has a concept of power. It is all about individuals changing their attitudes. Sociology and politics are much better at understanding power.

Not all capitalist societies are militarized (think Costa Rica or Sweden), and not all militarized societies are capitalist (think Russia or Saudi Arabia). We sometimes forget this because the US has so seamlessly melded militarism and capitalism, creating “militarized capitalism.”

Militarism is, inherently, a bullying force, and independently, capitalism is very much a bully system. So all militarized states, even those not capitalist, are bullies. And the same is true of capitalist states which are not militarist.

Capital bullying refers to the bullying carried out by capitalist elites even in non-militarized societies. The capitalist class (including corporations) bullies workers, consumers, suppliers, corporate rivals and suppliers. Of course, Marx built his whole theory of capitalist exploitation as a bullying relation between the capitalist class and the working class. more> https://goo.gl/JZXyBT

Updates from GE

This Ship Has Sailed: U.S. Navy Commissions An All-Electric Stealth Destroyer Zumwalt For Service
By Tomas Kellner – The U.S. Navy has commissioned for service the USS Zumwalt, its largest and most advanced stealth destroyer. The ceremony took place in Baltimore on Saturday (Oct 15).

The Navy estimates the 15,600-ton vessel can hit a target at a range of more than 60 miles. It also has a wave-piercing tumblehome design and a unique superstructure that make it less visible to enemy radar at sea.

The ship is equally innovative below deck. Traditionally, the Navy powered its vessels with gas turbines driving controllable pitch propellers through large and complex gearboxes. But the new destroyer has on board a 78-megawatt power station supplying electricity to an advanced integrated power system (IPS). GE Marine designed the system, which powers giant GE induction motors connected directly to the propeller shafts and routes electricity to a vast array of sensors, weapons, radar and other critical systems on board.

As a result, the ship will have nearly 10 times as much available power as its predecessors. In fact, the Zumwalt could become the first ship carrying next-generation weapons such as electromagnetic railguns, which use a strong electromagnetic pulse, rather than gunpowder, to shoot projectiles. “We’re no longer restricting the engines to provide propulsion power only,” Adam Kabulski, director for naval accounts at GE Power Conversion, told GE Reports.

“This design allows you to send electric power wherever you need it. You can access many megawatts in a short amount of time and convert it into energy. It’s instantaneous.”

The system is also highly redundant. Instead of the typical three-phase motors, the Zumwalt’s advanced induction motors have 15 phases. Kabulski said that by simply reversing the direction of the rotating magnetic field in the motor, for example, the shaft can turn in the opposite direction to give astern power. more> https://goo.gl/9WVdnz

THE ISSUES: What’s at Stake

BOOK REVIEW

The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, Authors: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, Authors: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.

By Nancy Gibbs – Issues in a presidential-election year are often like the fat books that we’re glad to own but don’t plan to read.

And most voters say that policy matters more than personality when they cast their ballots.

But watch what we do, not what we say. The least substantive campaign in modern history has drawn the most massive audience.

Trump’s success during the pri­mary season exposed just how profoundly Republican leaders misunderstood the mood of rank-and-file voters.

As a politician, he is incorrect in every way, with his tax returns secret, his Twitter stream radioactive, his treatment of facts appalling.

But when have we ever seen a race like this one, with one candidate so deeply devoted to policy detail and the other so allergic to it?

Whoever wins in November will eventually have to govern. The issues this country faces, from decrepit bridges and failing schools to cyber­threats and spiraling debt, will require muscular action, not magical thinking. more> https://goo.gl/HF7CyY