been a bad blogger

Old Boyfriends or Something by Wasted Rita

I’ve been a bad blogger.  Very busy, otherwise keeping contact with my own thinking mainly through tweeting and commenting elsewhere off in the intervoid.

Beyond that just finished Polanyi’s The Great Transformation (see sidebar).  I found myself wondering all along why exactly it has not been broadly and widely enough discussed for me to have been even vaguely familiar with it.  It’s a critique of 19th Century European civilization viewed from just the other side of its long drawn-out collapse.  With an emphasis on economic history, Polanyi offers a unique, persuasive, and powerful systematic explanation of the modern era from the advent of classical liberalism to the time of his writing, 1944, and he anticipates almost eerily, and anyway quite successfully, the theoretical and ideological problems that dominate political discussion in our time.

I’d like to say more, but will have to let what perhaps ought to have been an essay unfold instead in bits and pieces and tweets and comments over the coming days, weeks, months – though if you have any ideas or criticisms re: Polanyi, please let me know.  I’m not sure I’d ever encountered his work or any significant statement about it when I noticed the G.T. in an Amazon recommendation.

Otherwise, I’m feeling sorry that I haven’t at least been blogging up – noting, expanding upon – whatever I’ve been leaving behind elsewhere or condensing into 140-character lines… marriage equality, international law, the GOP telenovela, the Obama uptick, Syria, Iran, the Super Bowl, Eastwood/Chrysler, Hoekstra, yoga, pets, twitter-reality, my toes…

Will try to be a better boy from now on I promise.

18 comments on “been a bad blogger

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  1. post some stuff about international law—-sure to get me all chuchleheaded.

    how many years have you been attempting to read that book and was it better than the first Transformers movie?

    • “the point” What is “the point”? And why do you assume that a review – written in a defunct rightwing newspaper in June of 2008 – adequately prepares you to discuss the book and its arguments? Show just a tad of intellectual humility and curiosity, Don Miguel. It would do you good.

      To the extent it’s not just a pre-packaged ideological fantasy, “free market capitalism” as that writer appears to understand it, and as the name of a global social-economic-political system, rests on a mixed economy governed under social liberal assumptions, somewhat as Polanyi envisioned and argued for, and not the same thing as the “self-regulating free market” of 19th Century classical liberalism. It is subject, however, to many of the same strains and limitations, something which even your Sun journalist-professor would be probably be forced to acknowledge, against his evident prejudices, if he was attempting the same “”re-consideration” today rather than a few months prior to the ’08 financial crisis.

      • Well I suppose his quibble is with capitalism, after the French Revolution, which was better than
        then the mercantilist model, or other dirigiste steps like that Bismark instituted,

  2. I’m still waiting for you to turn this blog into your William Saffire explains all kind of deal. It’s like Dear Abby only about language. People post questions about whatever English issue they have and then you straighten them out. Secretly, in a return email, maybe you ask for a donation each time with suggestion for payment based on how much you helped them.

    • Since all writing is always about writing, I could achieve the same (non-)effect by writing 100% about anything other than writing.

      So what you really seem to want is writing “about ‘writing'”: Writing that refers constantly to the elements of writing and words associated with words. I think you’d get bored with that.

      • On the Commons
        See Also

        Free Marketeers Want a Commons of Their Own
        “The Great Transition”
        “The Great Transition”

        Commons Topics

        Commons Strategies
        Community Life
        Culture, Arts and Information
        Economy and Markets
        Food and Agriculture
        Media and Internet
        Politics and Government
        Science and Health

        About the Author

        Blogger at (no longer at Co-founder of Commons Strategies Group. Activist and writer about the commons. Author of Silent Theft, Brand Name Bullies and Viral Spiral.
        Read more
        Why Karl Polanyi Still Matters
        It’s a ripe moment to dust off “The Great Transformation” and its anthropological critique of “self-regulating markets.”
        By David Bollier



        As President Obama and his lieutenants scramble to try to prevent a major economic meltdown and social catastrophe, we have had little time to come to terms with a shattering reality: the “free market” as a public philosophy is dead. Unfolding events are discrediting some deeply rooted assumptions about American politics and policymaking. The neoliberal worldview – a vision of deregulation, privatization, free trade, limited government and few public services — is collapsing.

        A line of thinking that began with conservative economist Friedrich Hayek, gained cultural currency through Barry Goldwater, Ayn Rand and corporate America, and was actualized as a political program through Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, the GOP and centrist elements of the Democratic Party, is now facing a reckoning. The dominant philosophy of economics and governance of the past generation is being exposed as a utopian dream. It is properly seen as a political agenda that caters to investors and corporate managers, and quietly depends upon significant government interventions and subsidies.

        Image by Barbara Kruger.

        Well this passage, seems to interpret corporatism, or crony capitalism as the real thing, it ignores that much of this crisis, arose out of deliberate government action;

        Who can seriously talk about a “free market” and “freedom to choose” when taxpayers are being forced to pay trillions of dollars to prop up an ideological fantasy? The impending nationalization of the banking industry – dismissed as a fringe idea only weeks ago – has now been embraced by the likes of Alan Greenspan, Senator Lindsay Graham, George Will and Paul Krugman.
        But here’s the odd part: Everyone seems to regard all the bailouts and likely nationalizations as a kind of ideological interlude. Embarrassing, yes, but a cause for a new public philosophy? Hardly. Once the government cleans up the toxic assets, we will presumably be free to resume our normal “free market” worldview and ways of thinking.

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