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Gore Vidal Shoves Me Down The Rabbit Hole

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April 19, 2010 – Comments (19)

Conspiracy Theories Always Miss the Point 

I don't consider myself to be a conspiracy theorist. Indeed, I try to shy away from unprovable conspiracies because most conspiracy theorists miss the point, even when they are right. 

For example, NASA didn't fake the moon landing.  They doctored the photos to make the flag more prominent.  What's the point?  Instead of an evil trick to deceive the public and intimidate American subjects and foreign powers, it's merely typical bureaucratic reverance for the State - the source of their funding and prestige.  Nevermind that NASA spends billions to do what one guy can do on a $747 budget.  (And he recorded Space Sound!  I mean, it's not really anything, but hey when has NASA ever given us sound!)

9/11 wasn't an inside job. The evil Bildebegers and bankers didn't blow up the WTC as a false flag operation to capture strategic oil reserves.  9/11 was a government screw up.  Israeli spies on America soil tracked the bombers for months and knew of the attack (and their bosses kind of just forgot to mention it to us) while the FBI and CIA completely missed the boat.

At the ten year anniversary of the Columbine massacre, we found out that everything we knew about Columbine (outside of the simple stuff, like names and dates) was a myth.  Is this a conspiracy?  No. It's simply a reminder that Corporate media's job is not to ask 'why.'

Today, however, I was informed of a conspiracy - born out of either massive incompetence or outright treason - that caught me off guard.  I am speaking of Gore VIdal's article in Vanity Fair about Timothy McVeigh.  I have a feeling this is old news to a guy like abitare, but I had never heard about Brig. Gen. Partin's research, the FBI's evidence destruction, or the Kangaroo Court that convicted McVeigh.  I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.

This follows up on the heels of TMFSinchiruna's research into gold and silver manipulation - another conspiracy theory that I have been purposefully ignoring for a few years.  And of course, Chris Graley and I spent months trying to show our fellow Fools the data manipulation, incompetence, and outright lying involved in Global Warming studies.

With each day that passes, it seems, I am pushed further and further down the rabbit hole. 

The truth is simple

The worst conspiracy theory I know is that a group of evil white men want to establish a one world government to rule the world with an iron fist.  Oh, I concede that there are certain people in certain groups that would like to gain more power and, if possible, control every resource on the planet.  However, the problem with this theory is that it assumes as fact that these individuals are smart.  Fortunately for humanity, they are complete idiots.

Let's look at the Club of Rome, for example.  The Club of Rome is a super elite group of wealthy bankers, politicians, and other nitwits that calls itself a ....lol... global think tank.  In reality, it's a gathering of bored, economically ignorant, career criminals who get together and brag about how brilliant they are, while engaging in ritualistic orgies of self adulation.

The Club of Rome brags about how they invented Global Warming in their 1991 book, The First Global Revolution:

“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

The problem with the idea that this collection of economic ignoramuses could ever control the world is that they are in constant competition with dozens, if not hundreds of other groups filled with equally capable sycophants and morons.  We have the always enjoyable Council on Foreign Relations, which promised us shock and awe followed by a happily liberated Iraq where we would be viewed as a benign power of righteousness.  Good call, guys.  We have Opus Dei, which as Gore Vidal points out in the article at the top of this page, gave us violent sociopaths like John Aschroft and Louis Freeh.  Then there is Skull & Bones, the super secret Ivy League society that ritually urinates on each other while acting out their teenage fantasies.  Their membership includes intellectual titans like John Kerry and George W. Bush.   

The bottom line is that none of these groups can ever take over the world because only a group of idiots would actually want to do that. Even idiots have their limits 

A Regular 'Ken Cosgrove'

Congratulations are in order for a close friend that was recently published in The Atlantic.  Her name is Anna and she is a remarkable writer.  Her article deals with post-Katrina New Orleans as portrayed in the show Treme.  Anna, unlike hacks such as myself, is actually a professional writer with an impressive resume.  I think you'll enjoy her work.

Buy Everything and Grow Large

Remember the movie Wall-E?  It's an anticapitalist, socialist fairy tale about a company called Buy n Large megacorporation.  Supposedly, this Walmart-type firm grew so large that it controlled every resource on Earth. 

Here's an economic brain teaser for fellow Fools: How did Buy n Large calculate its costs of production?   Since BnL owned every resource, every transaction was an internal transfer of goods or services - there was no outside market of exchange to determine prices.  So how did BnL calculate the cost of the inputs of anything it produced?

If you can answer that question, you have a better understanding of monopoly than 99% of academic economists. 

Have a great week!

David in Qatar

19 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 19, 2010 at 1:38 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

You forgot to mention the chemitrails.

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#2) On April 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

chk999,

LOL, I didn't even want to bring that one up.  I can assure you that there are no chemtrails in Qatar.  So anyone out there that sees chemtrails everywhere, just come here and you'll be safe. 

Wait a second..... no, nevermind, you should probably just stay over there :)

David in Qatar 

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#3) On April 19, 2010 at 1:56 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

I want to add that there is a very good explanation as to why the government does not want to re-open the 9/11 investigation or address any questions raised by 9/11 truthers.  Because in doing so, government's own incompetence, irrelevance, and ineffictiveness will once again be exposed for everyone to see. 

That's just institutional self preservation kicking in.

David in Qatar

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#4) On April 19, 2010 at 2:38 PM, catoismymotor (39.43) wrote:

David,

I was with you up to the point you brought up Wall-E.  I never got the impression that it is a anti-capitalist socialist fairy tale. To me it is more of a anti-socialist, don’t trash the planet, fight the system story with enough of a love theme to keep the moms in the audience amused.

 

Anti-socialist Message: 

Buy n Large is a representation of the ultimate nanny entity. They do, after all, provide services from the cradle to the grave, with no other alternatives readily available because of their global monopoly.  

Buy n Large runs the planet, and runs it into the ground. Things get to the point where humans must pack up and leave while entrusting little robots to run around cleaning up the mess. And we see how that worked out in the story. 

Buy n Large, while on the surface appears to be a kind and benevolent steward of our wants and needs but has a dark undercurrent: the ships computer on the bridge. You know; the ship’s wheel robot thingy. For centuries it has bullied the captains of the ship into staying away from the earth. Then one day a captain is presented with such compelling evidence that it is safe to return that he fights said robot thingy for control of the ship to the cheers of the citizens onboard.

 

Don’t Trash The Planet: 

It is pretty explanatory. It is important to take care of this world as best we can because it is the only real home we have. And relying on others to clean up you little part of the earth is folly.

 

Fight The System: 

Like I referred to above the captain fights and wins control of the ship returning it to the Earth. 

The misfit robots (individuals that don’t conform) pull together to help save the day by running interference for Wall-E and Eva to keep them safe from the ships security robots. 

Wall-E and Eva, together fight a social system that is designed to keep them apart.

  

With respect and a different view point on an animated movie,

 

Cato

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#5) On April 19, 2010 at 2:59 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

catoismymotor,

I can see your point.  I should have been more clear.  I actually view Buy N Large as a socialist entity as well, but for economic reasons, which is why I shaped the question at the end in that particular fashion.  I just thought it was pretty well received among the Leftists because they viewed Buy N Large as the natural outcome of unregulated markets.

But I gotta be honest. I turned it off halfway through because it bored the heck outta me :)

David in Qatar

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#6) On April 19, 2010 at 3:24 PM, kdakota630 (29.59) wrote:

Another excellent blog, David.  Always a good read.

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#7) On April 19, 2010 at 4:09 PM, 4everlost (29.45) wrote:

David,

I'm baffled by the BnL question.  I guess that they didn't ever need to figure out the costs of their inputs.  If they already owned the raw materials, the equipment, the distribution network and the retail outlets, etc. then the costs had already been paid in the past.  I suppose they had to pay the employees (if there were any - I never saw the movie).

 

Rec #10

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#8) On April 19, 2010 at 4:18 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

4everlost,

Awesome!  I'm glad you took the plunge here.

Let's assume that BnL, as you point out, has every resource at its disposal, including labor.  They have all the production functions that tell them how much of each resource it takes to make a certain product.  So, if they want to build a car or a swingset or a computer, they know how many man hours of skilled and unskilled labor they need, how much steel, how much copper, etc. etc. etc.

But the question is, how do they know which one to make, how many of each one, or whether to make any at all?   SInce there is no market for any of the goods used to make the computer, car, and swingset how can they possibly know if making a car, a computer, or a swingset is the best possible use of the resources at their disposal?

I admit that this is not an easy question to answer. It took me at least a year to wrap my head around this concept.

David in Qatar

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#9) On April 19, 2010 at 5:21 PM, scoobamang (< 20) wrote:

This was a semi-good post, but I find your dismissal of government involvement in 9/11 disheartening. Here, we have two of the 'hijackers'' passports found in the rubble of the twin towers after they collapsed. The damage supposedly caused by the planes was very selective, almost...unbelieveable. The crashes and ensuing fires were supposed to be hot enough to melt steel, cause the buildings to collapse, and conveniently destroy all four black boxes, but two vinyl and paper passports survived just fine. Hmmmm!

Let's also not forget Larry Silverstein's interview gaffe in which he admits that building 7 was 'pulled', despite the fact that the Commission is sticking to its guns that a key girder was heated up enough for the entire building to collapse around it. They sure don't make them like they used to! Who should we believe here, the man who made $4.6 billion from the WTC collapse or the 9/11 commission? Maybe the girder was really hot, so Larry Silverstein told them to pull that out, and then the building collapsed like it was being demolished! The bramblebush of logic that people use to shoehorn the 'official' version of events on 9/11 into the American conciousness is dumbfounding. 

Ah, here we have the supposed highjackers drinking and gambling  on Jack Abramhoff's casino boat in Florida days before the attack. They also had a nice little stopover in Las Vegas. Wouldn't you say that this is strange behavior for Muslims devout enough to explode themselves in the name of strict Islamicism?

I could go on all night but I hope that I've given you some food for thought.

As far as the BNL question, because there are no more resources to attempt to acquire since they are all already owned and controlled, as well as the means to acquire them (assuming BNL also has the means of money production and all precious metal supplies) then capitalism has run its course and humanity can move on to its next phase.

I was confused as to why BNL needed to advertise at all, considering that since people have nowhere else to get anything, advertising would only encourage them to spend beyond their means, whatever kind of monetary system it is, which would only cause BNL's resources to deplete more quickly. It comes down to a question of what BNL's goal is: to extend its control for as long as possible, or to produce grand projects in a shorter time period?

In chasing the monster of capitalism, one should be careful not to turn into the monster of capitalism...because then it would become communism and you have a flawed human sitting here trying to decide how to allocate resources most efficiently and most likely making mistakes with far-reaching consequences. 

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#10) On April 19, 2010 at 5:41 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

scoobamang,

9/11.... the ultimate rabbit hole, right?  Well after reading Vidal's piece, where he finds the evidence of placed explosives compelling enough to consider the government complicit and treasonous in the Timothy McVeigh case, I have to admit that it makes me more sympathetic to 9/11 truth ideas. 

In the question about BnL, the question isn't about acquiring resources, as they already know how much they need to produce a given product.  The question is how do they know which products to produce, how many, and using what amounts of given resources?

I have to warn you that you have been misled about the economic outcome of unregulated capitalism, and if you are willing to follow this post and give this question that I have posed serious thought, you will find out exactly why.

You are right, in one respect, to note that BnL's goal is confused.  If BnL owns every resource, then there is no profit because there is no exchange, and there is no money.  For example, they could 'pay' their workers with something like labor tickets, but since there is no competing market for labor the tickets themselves can only be a pseudo-money.  How would BnL's managers determine the proper cost of labor?  Do you see how we are right back at the beginnning?  Labor is a factor of production just like steel and tin.  And labor itself is semantic.  The real term is hours of labor of an engineer, hours of labor of a mechanic, hours of labor of a janitor.  So each of those arer different factors of production.

So we're back to the beginning.  With no prices for the factors of production, how would BnL possibly decide how to allocate those factors in any sensible way?  How would BnL's economy avoid total chaos and collapse?

Respectfully,

David in Qatar

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#11) On April 19, 2010 at 5:51 PM, USNHR (31.99) wrote:

If there is no way to figure cost of production, then you can't figure Return on Investement either?

 However, does cost of production cease to matter... isn't that a term that capitalists to help measure their competiveness in the market? A monopoly by definition is not competitive.

The Monopoly has all the means of production, and so, according the the laws of supply and demand can restrict whatever production it wants to gain a higher price for the product, or basically fix the prices for their goods. The only return they need on products produced is to pay for labor and government bribes to keep all production, resources, etc... So really the monopoly becomes more about power and less about money. Cost of production is a side note, return on investment doesn't matter, only control has any meaning.

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#12) On April 19, 2010 at 6:03 PM, USNHR (31.99) wrote:

Opus Dei (meaning “God’s work”), a secretive international Roman Catholic order dedicated to getting its membership into high political, corporate, and religious offices (and perhaps even Heaven too) in various lands to various ends.

_______________________________________

 I take issue with Gore Vidal's definition. I think John Paul II had a more accurate viewpoint.

"[Opus Dei] has as its aim the sanctification of one’s life, while remaining within the world at one’s place of work and profession: to live the Gospel in the world, while living immersed in the world, but in order to transform it, and to redeem it with one’s personal love for Christ. This is truly a great ideal, which right from the beginning has anticipated the theology of the lay state of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar period."

 

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#13) On April 19, 2010 at 6:04 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

USNHR,

I think you are real close to understanding this.  In the situation described, BnL functions exactly in the same way as an isolated Socialist country.  We can say that BnL controls the government or BnL is the government, what difference does it really make?  They have the power of coercion to keep out competition.

What I want to show you is that BnL has to use force to keep out competition after its size reaches a certain point. That point is when the efficiency lost through the loss of rational economic calculation exceed the efficiency gained by economies of scale. Without coercion, government assistance, its monopoly is impossible to maintain.

But it's the rational economic calculation element that few economists, and hence few people, understand.

And that's the element that I am highlighting here.  Without a market for the factors of production, BnL can not possibly make any rational decision as to what to produce.  They have no way of knowing which infinite number of combinations is going to satisfy the most wants in the most efficient way.

This is called the Economic Calculation Problem of the Socialist Commonwealth, and it applies to any entity which gains complete economic control of an isolated community (in this case the entire world is isolated from an exchange-based economy.)

So, given that BnL has no market for the factors of production, is it all possible that they could rationally allocate products that will satisfy consumers at all?  Or will the enitre economy dissolve in chaos?

David in Qatar

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#14) On April 19, 2010 at 6:21 PM, scoobamang (< 20) wrote:

David, I don't know. This is a good question you've asked and my answers are so confused because it's such a complicated concept to wrap my mind around. My point was that if it were to control everything, then BNL would essentially be a communistic enterprise. You have a small class of bureaucrats at the top deciding how to allocate the resources of the world for whatever goal they deem as most important at any given time. 

This really involves the concept of telos, that the pursuit of a goal is in fact a goal in itself that can never nor should ever be reached. If a single company were to control the world and all things in it, then there would be no way to allocate the factors in a sensible way. Humans would do what they had to do to survive, disposing with the idea of money and most likely growing a plot of vegetables for themselves.

We are all essentially in this form of servitude to the Rothschild family right now, given that everything has a price and they collect interest on any monies we may give or take. So perhaps we should look to real-world experiences to see how BNL would maintain its economy.  

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#15) On April 19, 2010 at 6:44 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

scoobamang,

I'll say a little more, but then I have to run for a little while. I will come back later and keep going if people want.

Academics think they solved the problem through simple trial and error. They say, "ok, will just make up a price for the car and if it doesn't sell, we'll lower it. If there is a shortage, we'll raise the price."  That's the Orthodox Line. There's 4 things that I can think of off the top of my head that ruin this idea.  I'll get back to them in detail when I get back,

In the real world, the Soviets attempted to solve the problem by using production targets, but that didn't work very well either.  Output had to be measured in some way, so the Soviets chose tons, for example, in the nail industry.  Just a quick example: there is a famous Russian cartoon where a manager of a nail factory is meeting his supervising commissar. In the background is a giant nail on a train.  The nail is so big it takes up the entire train, and the manager says to the commissar, "Comrade, we are happy to announce that we met our production target!"

More after I get back :)

David in Qatar

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#16) On April 20, 2010 at 2:28 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

The problem is that the BnL corporation can not know how much of everything to produce and manufacture it and distribute it to the consumers:

How many babies will be born and need cribs? How much forumla will be needed? How many will need new clothing? How fast will each child grow to produce the right clothes of the right type at the right time? How many torn clothes will there be to replace? How many solied clothes will need to be replaced? How many diapers need to be made? How many wipes? (Answer: lots!) How many shoes of what size need to be made? How many will kids will step on a nail (Russian made or otherwise) and need replacment shoes? How many will ...

And the list is endless. No central planner can EVER make all the decisions to satisfy the consumer market - becuase it can not be calculated. Over and under supply will abound. Only a mature market meets the most needs and desires of the consumers.

We can guess. We can do market research. We can project. But we will be wrong.

Known as market-loving nzsvz9

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#17) On April 21, 2010 at 5:25 PM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

nzsvz9,

That's a very Hayekian position, and I'm sorry I haven't responded but I decided to put together a complete post on this topic.  I hope to have it out for you soon.

David in Qatar

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#18) On April 25, 2010 at 10:17 AM, 100ozRound (29.38) wrote:

So how did BnL calculate the cost of the inputs of anything it produced?

Just going to take a quick stab at this one:

Since there was no absolute value for anything, everything would have to be valued based on it's relative scarcity/abundance to everything else....?  With an arbitrary premium added for the use of labor to produce?

 

Though I am probably wrong...

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#19) On May 01, 2010 at 9:17 AM, whereaminow (21.88) wrote:

Thanks for the ideas and feedback guys.  I continued the discussion with this post.

David in Qatar

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