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View Diary: Why Wingers Hate Boston Wasn't Worse (159 comments)

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  •  only the means of domination have changed (0+ / 0-)
    There's a reason why Humanity moved beyond hunter-gatherer bands and slave-based warrior societies: Civilization works.
    Thorstein Veblen argued that we have not moved beyond hunter-gatherer bands and slave-based warrior societies, at least not in spirit.  The means of predatory exploitation have changed, but the idea that taking is better than giving and creating is held as strongly now as it ever was, and the people who are best at taking are elevated not just to wealth and power, but to respect and vicarious pride.
    •  Without getting in Veblen's gibberish (1+ / 0-)
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      RonV

      Are you saying that the utility curve of violence is unchanged since the dawn of time across all scales of participation?

      Two words for the high-volume end: Nuclear weapons. (Consequence: Return on additional unit of violence produces negative infinity yield because all exogenous wealth and existence of consumers/producers to extract rents taken out of function.)

      Two more for the low-volume end: Surveillance cameras (Ability of violent perpetrators to act with impunity checked; ability to enter 'violence market' faces higher initial barrier - you have to be able to act with documented impunity to play.)

      Now, I could discuss at length a working model as to

      (1) why most of human history is chock full of predation
      (2) why, from Veblen's vantage, this was a stronger basis for an economic model because it included all but roughly 50 years of his era's history
      (3) why he was wrong for most of the 1800s and all of the 1990s and
      (4) seemingly may be becoming correct again... to the extent he was correct at all

      But that explanation has nothing to do Darwinist notions of how humans and human society evolved and more to do with the real rate of economic growth (zero) and how that imparts on human societies very different behaviors to conserve as much good stuff for as few people as possible (Aristotle's arête principle, Veblen's conspicuous consumptive) but that these behaviors are regardless ethically bankrupt and undesirable and contribute to technological and social stasis.

      But... I gotta get dressed for date night with the wife, so we'll chat later. :)

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