re: capitalism, information sources, transformation…


Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors.

Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 11:48:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Rob
Subject: Your War on Terror Article [in New Dawn magazine]
To: •••@••.•••


thank you for printing this article! I am now inspired
to learn more about capitalism and the
anti-globalization campaign. I haven't liked this
'war' from the beginning - and have been suspicious of
big business influence in the government ever since
reading Howard Zinn's People's History of the US. I
will try to follow up on your recommended readings and
also try to figure out how to help voice my concern
over who has power in this country. I would love to
learn more about how to protest and influence our
government, and also learn alternative forms of
running this country. I do have one question (and
don't feel compelled to answer this, I know you're
probably swamped with messages)...could our current
form of extreme capitalism been avoided while sticking
to Adam Smith's ideas of market economies? 

Thanks again!


Dear Rob,

Capitalism is pretty much the opposite of what Adam Smith
was talking about.  At the core of Smith's market economy is
the assumption that there are lots of small buyers and
sellers, none of whom is big enough to influence the market
price.  In fact, every one of Smith's assumptions are
grossly violated by capitalism.  This is very important,
because our fearless leaders always try to tell us that the
only alternative to capitalism is centralized state
socialism.   And they try to make us believe that corporate
'free trade' is the same as Smith's market economy.  It
ain't so.  A good source for this is Korten's "The Post
Corporate World, Life After Capitalism."

You might want to visit the cj website and consider joining
our lists.

thanks for your message,

Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 22:27:43 -0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: Larry Tesler <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: War on Humanity: economic front

10/28/01, Richard K. Moore wrote:
    > The capitalist imperative is: 'Ruling elites must

It seems to me that 'Ruling elites must prosper' is no
monopoly of capitalism. Who prospered in the one-party
Soviet Union? In feudal monarchies? In ancient empires?

Only societies with weak ruling elites, or none at all, lack
this imperative.

Larry Tesler


Dear Larry,

I agree.  'Ruling elites must prosper' has been the growing
theme for past 10,000 years, particularly in the more
'advanced' societies.  Indeed, the growth of civilization
can be mapped by the greater scale of centralized power. But
within each society, there is usually a mythology that most
people buy into.  In the Soviet Union, everything was being
done 'for the people'.  In the Middle Ages, it was done for
the 'glory of God', etc.

My point really is that capitalism is no different in this
regard.  Today we are fed two primary myths, one political
and one economic.  Politically we are encouraged to believe
that we live in democracies, and that our opinions and votes
determine public policy.  Economically, we are encouraged to
believe that capitalism is designed to bring prosperity to
all - that it is 'for our own good'.  Neither of these myths
stands up to even the slightest scrutiny, and yet they are
accepted, consciously or otherwise, by most people in our

Since we live in capitalist societies, it is the myths of
capitalism that are in need of debunking for us.  The
frailties of other societies are debunked sufficiently
already in the mainstream media.  Whether capitalism was
ever a good thing, on balance, is I think an open question. 
Nonetheless, we have followed the capitalist path for the
past two centuries and are left with the good and bad it has

In my opinion, the system has clearly reached the point of
diminishing returns.  Its internal requirement for growth
has become substantially incompatible with human welfare and
threatens even the viability of our ecosystems.  If we don't
make fundamental changes in our societies, we and our
descendents will be paying an unacceptably high price for
centuries to come.

The Soviet Union did not offer a preferable alternative, nor
would it be a good idea to try to revert to feudal
monarchies or ancient empires.  But this does not mean there
are no alternatives worth pursuing.

warm regards,

Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 10:25:35 -0800
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: Who was responsible for September 11?

Dear Richard,

It's a pain in the butt checking sources and I don't often
do it, but on stuff this hairy I try to, where possible,
before passing on.  When someone else first sent me some of
this stuff, I did some research on one of the sources.  You
might consider whether you consider this particular source
-- Colonel Donn de Grand Pré -- dependable.


C)  I wrote to a friend who was sending me such stuff
earlier, and I offer it to you, as follows:

"I've seen a growing number of things like it.  Frustrates
me.  Some excellent data and intelligent surmises, embedded
in highly questionable data and a vividly biased narrative
that forces me to conclude that these folks, too, are more
interested in promoting their meta-narrative/worldstory than
in understanding whatever multi-facetted, nuanced and
incoherent reality may actually be involved.  Which makes me
question EVERYTHING that they're saying (e.g., I wish the
bin Laden interview was real, but I smell a well-done hoax)
(just as I question the statements of government).  Our
collective/systemic cognitive capacities are not set up to
clarify BS from truth, so it is left to widespread
scatterings of individuals to try to sort out the wheat from
the chaff. And, in this case, I don't have the heart or
stomach for it.  So I'm turning increasingly toward using
this crisis -- whoever its ultimate perpetrators are -- for
the positive transformation of humanity.  It may not be
possible, and it may be misinformed, but it is where I want
and choose to put my life energy.  Amen to anything good
that is trying to emerge from all this."



Dear Tom,

Thanks for your note... nice to know you're looking at the

The first issue you raise, about credibility of sources, is
not a simple one.  Where is there a fully reliable source? 
What writer isn't motivated by some agenda besides simply
presenting the facts of a particular case?  Except for paid
reporters, everyone writes - and chooses their topics -
because they have something bigger to say, something which
the current story 'typifies'.  And paid reporters come with
an agenda set by their editors and media owners.

Just as reality is 'multi-faceted' and 'nuanced', so is the
question of interpreting sources.  One thing to look at, as
you point out, is other things a source has said.  Hence
from Chomsky we can always expect precise scholarship, and
there are also definite limits as to what we can learn from
him.  To a first approximation, most of what he says is
selected from the New York Times.  That's both his strength
and his limitation.

If we want to investigate more controversial subjects, then
we must look further afield for researchers and
spokespeople, people who aren't always as precise as
Chomsky.  This means we need to use our own judgement, and
distinguish what makes sense from what doesn't.  For
example, consider how you watch mainstream news.  You know
that it's trying to sell you lies, along with a corporate
world view, and yet you look at it to learn certain basic
facts, such as whether or not Kabul has fallen.  The rest
you take with a grain of salt. You don't refuse to look at
all mainstream media, even though it is clearly one of the
most unreliable sources around.

On cyberjournal, I try to present a wide range of
viewpoints, some of which I agree with and some I don't.  I
believe that one of the best ways to understand something is
to look at it from several different perspectives.   No one
perspective is free of distortions, and no one perspective
can tell the whole truth.  Sometimes it's worth entertaining
a perspective simply because lots of misguided people
believe it, to understand how the world looks to them.  One
of my criteria for selecting postings is to ask the
question, "Does this piece shed any new light on an
important issue?"  If it does, even though it includes
distortions as well, then I might post it so that readers so
can judge for themselves.

You say you don't have the heart or stomach for sorting out
the wheat from the chaff.  That is quite understandable.  We
all need to focus on some things, and leave other things be.
 Pursuing the 'positive transformation of humanity' is an
admirable goal, and I'm sure the folks on your lists are
inspired by what you send out.  I happen to share your goal,
and my writings (such as the Guidebook) investigate how such
a transformation might come about, and what kind of
transformation makes sense.  But that investigation is
preceded by material about how the current system works, and
how it got that way.

Our ability to encourage a positive transformation of
society is greatly reduced if we do not understand how the
current system works, and what forces keep it in place.  For
example, you recently published "The Prague Declaration",
and characterized it as 'important work'.  The Declaration
expresses very noble sentiments, yet it is totally naive
from a political or economical perspective.   At one point
it says,
  "If companies are to become responsible global actors,
  values - in the form of moral codices, social and
  environmental audits etc. - should play a greater role in
  their behavior."
And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

If companies are going to be restrained by morals and
audits, where are they to find the growth to keep the
economy going?  Not only this year, but the next, and the
one after that.  And if you're not going to base the economy
on growth, then what are you going to base it on?   And what
do you do about all the vested interests - with their
automated armies, deceptive media, and beholden politicians
- who are determined to maintain the growth-based exploitive
system at all costs?

These and many other issues must be faced if there is going 
to be any transformation of society.  If there's a short-cut, 
I haven't seen it yet.

best regards,


Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
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    "A Guidebook: How the world works and how we can change it"

    A community will evolve only when
    the people control their means of communication.
            -- Frantz Fanon

    Capitalism is the relentless accumulation of capital for the
    acquisition of profit.  Capitalism is a carnivore.  It
    cannot be made over into a herbivore without gutting it,
    i.e., abolishing it.
    - Warren Wagar,  Professor of History, State University 
      of New York at Binghamton

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