What are you reading?

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blindpig
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:33 pm

Just started 'Man and the Biosphere'(Kenneth M Stokes) on some recommendation or another.Not sure what to make of it yet, talks a good game but I dunno...Need some entertainment,,, reread all my S Delaney, trying to hold off the M J Harrison for a bit. Dragon & Eagle sounds like a plan. Or mebbe start D&F Roman Empire as I wanted to read that one more time before I croak(NOT imminent). Isis as 21st century Visigoths makes sense to me.....
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

solidgold
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by solidgold » Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:44 pm

kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:38 pm
I've been reading a bunch of papers on arxiv. That lead me to a book called the The Dragon and The Eagle by Sunny Auyang. She is a physicist but the book is about the parallel Roman Empire (27 BCE - 476 CE) and Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE). I also recently downloaded The Politics of Terrorism by Donald Monaco which is keen to emphasize the equivalence of "terrorism" and "counterterrorism" (as the latter is defined by the US). Oh and I was recommended a book of military fiction called Kirov where a modern Russian battlecruiser is transported back into 1941 and becomes involved in WWII. Haven't got very far on that one.
I just read the Amazon "look inside" of The Dragon and the Eagle. "The Romans knew the Chinese only as Seres, the silk people, who were the source of the fine fabrics the Roman elite valued so much. The Chinese were somewhat better informed of their Western double." Sounds too familiar :? . Gonna check this one out for sure.

I have a friend that tries to push fiction on me a few times a year. I either hate fun or don't have an imagination; I think both could be true.
blindpig wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:33 pm
Or mebbe start D&F Roman Empire as I wanted to read that one more time before I croak(NOT imminent). Isis as 21st century Visigoths makes sense to me.....
Damn... I was thinking of tackling something either lengthy or difficult too, but idk. I was thinking Philosophy of Right, as mentioned in another thread. I found a website with a guy who breaks down Phenomenology section by section with some depth, and it's been helpful (keeping certain things in mind). I also keep going back to the breakdown of Capital that you dug up. I've read Volume 1 all the way through, but more out of purely forcing myself and less from understanding. I guess there's a reason why I always cop to Soviet writing after I get frustrated. Corona isolation aside and despite everyone's socialism-fever, it's not easy to find people to bounce these ideas off.
kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:38 pm
2. On the other hand, once productivity is raised then the new higher level of production defines how much labor is socially necessary (eg if you speed up production from 500 widgets to 1000 widgets per hour, then 1000 widgets now constitutes 1 hour of value). The claim here is that you can only increase surplus value by reducing variable capital (cutting wages) or forcing workers to work faster. Introducing new technology does neither of those things.
Interesting. Whose debate?

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kidoftheblackhole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:52 am

solidgold wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:44 pm
kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:38 pm
2. On the other hand, once productivity is raised then the new higher level of production defines how much labor is socially necessary (eg if you speed up production from 500 widgets to 1000 widgets per hour, then 1000 widgets now constitutes 1 hour of value). The claim here is that you can only increase surplus value by reducing variable capital (cutting wages) or forcing workers to work faster. Introducing new technology does neither of those things.
Interesting. Whose debate?
IMO, it is better to avoid mindbenders like this because invariably whoever is pushing it is smuggling in their own hidden agenda(s) under the table.

Here is a quote from Theories of Surplus Value Chapter 9 section 4 (about Rodbertus's Error)

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... e/ch09.htm
Now it is true that manufacture cannot work up more raw material than agriculture supplies. Thus, for instance, it cannot spin more pounds of wool than have been produced. If the productivity in wool spinning is trebled, then, provided the conditions of the production of wool remained the same, three times as much time as previously would have to he spent, three times as much capital would have to be expended on labour in wool production, whereas only the same amount of the spinners’ labour-time would be required to spin up this trebled quantity of wool. But the rate [of surplus-value] would remain the same. The same spinning labour would have the same value as before and contain the same surplus-value. The wool-producing labour would have a trebled surplus-value but the labour embodied in it, or the capital advanced in wages, would accordingly have trebled as well. The three times greater surplus-value would thus be calculated on a three times greater capital. But this is no reason for saying that the rate of surplus-value is 1ower in spinning than in wool production. One would only say that the capital laid out in wages is three times as great in one as in the other (since it is assumed here that the changes in the spinning and in the production of wool are not due to any change in their constant capital).
Quotes like this are furnished as "proof" of what Marx said. However, it is obvious here that there is some typo or mistranslation as the two sentences directly contradict each other.

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kidoftheblackhole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:56 am

Re: Edward Gibbon. He directly tells us that he has NO theory of history:
[H]istory [...] is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.

— Gibbon, Edward (1872). The decline and fall of the Roman Empire. 1 (Chandos ed.). London: Frederick Warne & Co. p. 72. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
And here is his summation
The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and, instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majesty of the purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians.

— Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 38 "General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West"
And these are just things I pulled from wikipedia

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kidoftheblackhole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:10 am

Hegel's Philosophy of Right is no big mystery, even wikipedia mostly gets the idea:
The Philosophy of Right (as it is usually called) begins with a discussion of the concept of the free will and argues that the free will can only realize itself in the complicated social context of property rights and relations, contracts, moral commitments, family life, the economy, the legal system, and the polity. A person is not truly free, in other words, unless he is a participant in all of these different aspects of the life of the state.
Note the contrast with Rousseau's "Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.." from The Social Contract which is wildly influential in liberal (!=Democrats) political theory. The epigraph is
"foederis aequas / Dicamus leges
which is from the Aeneid (ie the mock foundation of Rome). It is normally translated as "Let us set equal terms for the truce" (or 'let us make equitable laws') which is meant to tell you that Rosseau is giving a treatment on how to call a truce in the "war of all against all"

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blindpig
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:03 am

kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:56 am
Re: Edward Gibbon. He directly tells us that he has NO theory of history:
[H]istory [...] is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.

— Gibbon, Edward (1872). The decline and fall of the Roman Empire. 1 (Chandos ed.). London: Frederick Warne & Co. p. 72. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
And here is his summation
The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and, instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majesty of the purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians.

— Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 38 "General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West"
And these are just things I pulled from wikipedia
Sometimes ya laugh with Gibbon, sometimes ya laugh at him.Having no theory is about par for the first great bourgois historian. His 'insights' are historical meat to put on the bones of Locke, etc. Ruling ideas of the ruling class and a necessity for a 'gentleman's' education for long. Knowing his agenda(the edification of the rising bourgeoisie) makes him all the more entertaining.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

solidgold
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by solidgold » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:29 am

kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:10 am
Hegel's Philosophy of Right is no big mystery, even wikipedia mostly gets the idea:
The Philosophy of Right (as it is usually called) begins with a discussion of the concept of the free will and argues that the free will can only realize itself in the complicated social context of property rights and relations, contracts, moral commitments, family life, the economy, the legal system, and the polity. A person is not truly free, in other words, unless he is a participant in all of these different aspects of the life of the state.
Note the contrast with Rousseau's "Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.." from The Social Contract which is wildly influential in liberal (!=Democrats) political theory. The epigraph is
"foederis aequas / Dicamus leges
which is from the Aeneid (ie the mock foundation of Rome). It is normally translated as "Let us set equal terms for the truce" (or 'let us make equitable laws') which is meant to tell you that Rosseau is giving a treatment on how to call a truce in the "war of all against all"
Well, if it was a mystery to me, I’m definitely gonna figure it out—I’ve been “social distancing” at a friend’s and the elderly woman who lives here has COVID-19. She’s a recent cancer survivor. Doesn’t look good. I’m gonna be here a while...

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kidoftheblackhole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:47 am

Hey guys,

All e-books on versobooks.com are 80% off right now due to the virus which, as far as I can tell, means they all cost $2. There are infinite great pickups there.

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blindpig
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:55 am

kidoftheblackhole wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:47 am
Hey guys,

All e-books on versobooks.com are 80% off right now due to the virus which, as far as I can tell, means they all cost $2. There are infinite great pickups there.
Great, the complete Trotsky.......

Too little time, too much screen
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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