Posts Tagged ‘free markets’

The Political Right and the ‘Bottom Line’

March 8, 2018

Do the right look after the budget bottom line in government?

Probably not anymore. Not if it interferes with giving taxpayer’s money and possessions to the corporate sector.

In the US, we have corporate tax cuts, massively increased military spending and license for corporations to pollute and poison people – none of this will apparently cost the public anything.

In Australia, the Right wing Coalition has blown out the debt since taking over, and plans to blow it out even more, with more military spending, more spending on supporting the Adani corporation dig up and burn enough coal to wipe out climate stability, tax cuts for corporations who don’t pay any tax and so on.

Then there is the Coalition in NSW. They apparently have plenty of money to throw at developers, while selling off public goods, making life easy for coal miners to pollute, and destroy our water table, and harder for ordinary people to protest. They constantly make massive commercial in confidence deals with public money. They sign contracts with private enterprise before business cases and Environmental Impact Statements are finished. They support the idea of public money being spent on private enterprise sports stadiums, when the sports organisations are tax exempt because they are supposed to provide their own facilities. They make totally stupid decisions with public transport – new trains without toilets on long routes, new trains that can’t fit in the tunnels, new tunnels that can’t fit normal stock. They dig up rail access into the centre of Newcastle so that developers can build on the ex-tracklines. They think that a major new tax on transport in Sydney (through the Westconnex set of motorways) is a great idea as long as the tax is a toll going to private enterprise, and it won’t end up funding public hospitals, schools or renewable energy research – and the public funds the building of the new roads. Cost, of course, blows out massively as it is remuneration for private business, and people get thrown out of their homes and undercompensated. This is either a pure waste of money and incompetence, or a deliberate policy about giving money to those who already have it, at the cost of everything else. The other way of seeing this is as normal crony-capitalism in action. The corporations control the parties who control the State, and the State exists to benefit the ruling corporations.

The last two Federal Coalition leaders, have both failed to deal with any of the problems we face at all – in fact they have run away from them, tried to put the cost on the less wealthy, or have simply made the problems worse.

It is always easy to pretend to live prosperously if you sell off your assets and overspend – eventually it hits, and that could be the grand idea, bankrupt the government and throw ordinary people to the wolves. Sometimes, as Walter Steensby says, it looks as though the neoliberal philosophy thinks that people and nature are just costs and an obstruction to its own development, and they need to be disposed of.

The Right often only seems to worry about the bottom line when there is a chance that money might be going to people who actually need it to survive.


What is ‘Crony Capitalism’?

March 5, 2018

Crony capitalism describes two situations: the situation in which different capitalists co-operate to distort the market and maximise their profits, and the situation in which people in government either support, or are bought by, corporations to make laws that favour those corporations, or offer some other kind of subsidy, protection or help. More generally, the second half of the definition describes the case in which the State largely governs on behalf of big business, because business is defined as possessing all the virtues and abilities that matter to the society, and many businesses collaborate to maintain the general dominance of business and crush resistance.

In crony capitalism risks of business and costs of business are usually diffused onto the general taxpayers (with the wealthy often paying little tax). For example, in crony capitalism, pollution and environmental destruction is encouraged as it lowers costs to business, and usually just poisons the poorer sections of the population, who don’t count. Any regulations which try to enforce business responsibility for their actions are usually seen as ‘red-tape’ and repealed. Laws are generally designed to help maintain business benefits, and the courts arranged so that non-wealthy people have relatively little chance of success in using the law against business power.

Crony capitalism encourages situations in which ‘workers’ organising to protect their rights, conditions and wages, are frowned upon or prosecuted because they disrupt business, while federations of business organisations are considered normal and acceptable.

Crony capitalism is driven by, and results in, plutocracy.

Crony Capitalism is the normal form of capitalism, and power plays are a normal part of competition in markets.

Some remarks on the Communist Manifesto

March 3, 2018

If you read the Communist Manifesto, you will find that Marx and Engels briefly describe the dynamics and results of capitalism, and they claim it is pretty much to produce a situation similar to that we find we are in now….

  • Globalisation of a particular culture;
  • Destruction of national industries;
  • Inflation of the size of particular cities;
  • Increasing inequality (particularly in wealth distribution);
  • Increasing monopolization (ie more and more companies and owned by a small number of other companies);
  • Making labour an appendage to the machine;
  • Freeing capital from local regulation;
  • Turning the State into a managing agent for the benefit of upper corporate class;
  • Increasing the spread of directives and the control of land and people;
  • Turning all values into property or monetary exchange.
  • I don’t know of any other 19th Century figures who score so many accurate predictions. Yes they seem to have been wrong on the inevitability of revolution, but that is one missed prophecy and that was optimism in play.

    Nowadays we would probably add to these predictions, the idea that capitalism will destroy its civilization by destroying the ecology in an orgy of mass death and destruction; but we would have to say we have no idea what kind of organisations will follow on from its self destruction.

    Superfunds and ‘We are the shareholders’

    February 19, 2018

    Australian Banks are trying to defend their excessive profits and lack of competition by using the furphy that because Superannuation funds are large owners of shares, that their profits benefit ordinary Australians who own the shares through those funds. However, reality is more complicated than that

    1) Large amounts of fees are siphoned off in fees to the super funds, and go to superfund managers – so the main beneficiaries are the managers and people with large superfund holdings, not ordinary Australians, unless perhaps the funds are industry based. The first fund I was in cost more in entrance and exit fees than I could possibly earn on input. This is clearly not the banks fault, but it indicates something odd about the way ‘we’ own these shares. Putting it in another way, the rational action of fund managers acting for their own benefit with these shares, does not have to deliver maximum benefit to the people who pay into the fund.

    2) We “ordinary Australians” do not own the shares. We cannot vote, we cannot influence bank policy because of those shares. We do not hold the rights associated with those shares. Those shares are owned by the superfund, and any input into the bank will tend to benefit the fund not its members. It is irrelevant as to whether it might be ‘better’ for large institutions to take those rights away from us and exercise them as if they owned the shares – which they do (again the point is that the institutions have the ownership, not ordinary Australians).

    3) This fictitious ownership only exists as long as we keep paying the super company. Again we do not own the shares, we pay the Superfunds to own them, hopefully (but certainly not guaranteedly) on our behalf.

    4) However, the public pays the costs and losses associated with those shares, while the funds continue to pay out to themselves, irrespective of loss. This is the usual privatization of profits, publicization of loss common in capitalism.

    5) The banks may also have holdings in the Superfund, and these holdings are large enough to be used to outweigh any objections that individual members have to the way they operate. and use the shareholdings to benefit themselves and shut down inquiries by the fund into the way profits are made, declared and distributed.

    6) It is more than likely that most of the bank shares are owned by a very few, and only a few shares owned by the many.

    As usual, the market is structured by political action, usually the action taken by those who are wealthy, and is intended to benefit them. The market is rarely ever neutral – it is intertwined with power relations.

    (Some of these arguments borrowed from a critical thread in response to an article on the Conversation)

    Origins of Capitalism?

    February 7, 2018

    Capitalism is a mode of power (primarily economic), based on appropriation of people’s goods and labour, and the distribution of wealth.

    There are a number of forms of what is called capitalism. In my lifetime, where I live, we have had socialist-capitalism and we now have neoliberal capitalism, with more or less complete domination by the corporate sector. Scandinavian capitalism differs from French capitalism, differs from Anglo-capitalism and so on.

    Capitalism is not trade. Trade exists in all societies, including ones that most people would not call capitalist. (China is weird, if people want to praise it they point out it is now capitalist, and if they want to condemn it they point out it is now communist. In either case there is trade.)

    The origins of any of these forms of capitalism depend upon a heap of contingent factors, particularly including politics, and clearly cannot be summarized in a readable post – so this is only a summary for Anglo-capitalism.

    Historically, one argument is that this capitalism grew out of the inequalities, violence and wealth accumulations of feudalism. It was boosted in the UK by dispossession of people from their land, which provided a class dependent on wage labor for survival, and who could be hired and dismissed with little cost or sense of social obligation. Wealth accumulation was also boosted by the slave plantations in the Americas, which pretty obviously depended on dispossession and non consensual labour. It was also boosted by private citizens engaging in piracy on the Spanish treasure ships on behalf of the crown. The British Tudor (and later) Monarchy promoted non-aristocratic citizens to positions of power and wealth, which weakened the aristocracy. This movement was accompanied by the rise of a powerful mercantile class, and between them they began to change the form of British politics and economic structures into one far less dependent upon royal patronage or the ties of feudal obligation.

    Then the development of the steam engine, together with an abundance of coal, plus further political action and repression, allowed the relatively secure work and trade of crafts people to be destroyed, so more people became dependent upon capitalist industrialists for survival and more profit was channeled towards those who owned and controlled the technologies of production. The search for markets and resources to support this production led to Empires, as for example when the East India company took over India and destroyed local crafts and to help with their exports of cheap machine made materials (made with Indian cotton). There is a little dispute, but basically the now-standard argument is that the company and its accompanying British Rule completely destroyed the Indian non-capitalist economy and was largely responsible for the mass poverty and inequality that the 20th Century Indian State has had to deal with.

    Capitalism has also taken advantage of fossilised energy. It is the development of energy, from slavery, wage labour to coal that produced whatever abundance was shared by the more fortunate members of capitalist society. The steam engine depended upon coal, but around about the start of the 20th Century, oil and petroleum upped the portability and effectiveness of energy once again and with it the apparent abundance. However, this abundance depends on power relations and law which allows pollution and poisoning costs to be ignored by the producer, or diffused onto those of ‘lesser importance’. It is always the way that the poor have pollution poured on top of them. This could be realistically known as ‘trickle down economics’. The current problem for capitalism is that the pollution it, and its variants, are engendering is likely to destroy the ecological systems it has depended upon but has refused to acknowledge. Today we see that battle being conducted in the form of a struggle over climate change and appropriate action.

    While the economy is not natural, but political and embedded in power relations, it does need to be acknowledged that conquest and appropriation, in itself, does not lead to capitalism. The way plunder was organized in the Spanish Empire, for example, seems to have destroyed their economy. It was not invested in manufactures and trade – the ‘bloated’ aristocracy won out over the mercantile class and the peasants.

    Everywhere that capitalism has gone, it has tried to destroy non-capitalist economies, through dispossession of property, the imposition of wage or indentured labour, and taxes which required people to pay cash which they had to earn through wage labour. There are endless colonial and business reports complaining about the laziness and irrationality of ‘natives’, who had better things to do with their lives than hold down jobs, and who did not need jobs to survive(until that independence was destroyed).

    Capitalists always argue that capitalists are wealth creators and deserve special privilege and powers. Because large capitalists end up owning most of that wealth they are usually able to buy politicians and propaganda, and control society to act to give them those special privileges and powers. Hence capitalist power tends to reinforce itself, and make all life even more dependent on capitalist action, and capitalism seems like “common sense”.

    We had a relatively generally prosperous period when capitalists feared revolution, but since that period has passed, wealth and power now accumulate primarily at the high ends.

    Bitcoin and others

    February 2, 2018

    The value of any currency (and that includes gold) depends on magic.

  • 1) Whether there is faith in the currency.
  • 2) Whether there is faith in the people who issue the currency and their ability to enforce value (through violence or expectation of violence). The value of currency is tied up with perceptions of power. If an issuer cannot generate the perception of power in others, then their currency will become worthless.
  • 3) Whether there is faith that other people value the currency.
  • 4) Whether there is demand for the currency – ie other people will accept it or exchange it for other currencies.
  • 5) How plentiful the currency is perceived to be.
  • All currency is subject to bubbles and over enthusiasms. However the more stable the issuer, the more it is likely to be valued.

    Currency is about politics, and politics is about persuasion and power, that is ritual and magic (and usually a bit of human sacrifice, because nothing shows power better than this).

    Some Comments on The State of the Union

    February 1, 2018

    Some comments on parts of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, from his point of view…..

    “All Americans deserve accountability and respect — and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

    I want to get rid of public servants that are not convinced that I, Donald Trump, am god, and replace them with loyal sycophants – because people who agree with me know a super genius when they meet one.

    “In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.”

    I am making Washington accountable, by removing its ability to prevent corporations from poisoning the environment or you. That’s what makes America Great!

    “We have ended the war on American Energy — and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world”

    We can now cheer loudly as we destroy the world for profit. I’m going to make a real killing here.

    “To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.”

    Pharmaceutical corporation profit is much more important than your health. America runs on profit not people.

    “People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.””

    That is they have the “right to try” prayer, because it is all they can afford. And American religion is the best.

    “Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.”

    Because every loyal American wants a motorway going through their backyard, and should have no right to protest, because protestors are all Anti-fa scum.

    “For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities.”

    I keep telling you, immigrants are gang members and should be shot on sight. Get with it!

    “Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”

    Another arms race is a really productive way of getting taxpayer dollars into the pockets of hard working arms manufacturers. And, because we will let them sell their stuff everywhere, we need to pour even more taxpayer money into arms to keep ahead. The NRA will love it!

    “We must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal”

    Because I like threatening people with nuclear war, and its ok because I’m not Hillary.

    And don’t forget I’m all about unifying America. Unity means praising me. That’s how you tell we are unified. We need to get rid of negative people now….

    More Government?

    January 22, 2018

    In my work I often come across people writing something like:

    There’s a category of people, often found mollycoddled inside government institutions such as universities, for whom “more government” is the answer to absolutely every problem.

    This annoys me.

    For one, in my entire and pretty lengthy life, I have never met anyone who thinks the answer to anything is “more government”. Never. It is a completely false accusation.

    There are, however, a large number of people who object to giving all governmental power to the corporate sector (as is the usual results of actions by those who supposedly support ‘small government’), and there are those who think that ‘the people’ should be able to participate in their own government and challenge corporate dominance.

    As you might expect both positions are easily misrepresented by people who work for the dominant powers who heavily fund think tanks and now permeate the university system. We might even say, by those cosseted by capitalism, for thinking ‘righteously’. They can pretend that wanting to be able to challenge corporate dominance, is a call for more government, knowing that hardly anyone will protest in favour of more government, once it is framed that way. This is also fundamentally dishonest.

    The real questions are: do you want input into the government, do you want to participate in government, or do you want to leave it to the corporately sponsored and paid for elites? Do you want to keep wondering why government decisions always seem to benefit that class, or do you want to do something about it?

    Capitalism appears to inherently intertwine itself into the State, resulting in more liberty for corporations, and more oppressive government for everyone else, unless it is challenged. At least I do not know of a historical circumstance in which this is not true. The fact that other systems can be even worse, does not disprove this.

    We need to challenge these glib pro-corporate memes which try and construct corporate interests and peoples interests as always the same and always coinciding only with corporate interests, and replace them with ones that reflect reality.

    What is Socialism?

    January 19, 2018

    Usually socialism means that ‘the people’ have the right to try and influence market power, so that the inherently top down processes of capitalism involving corporations and other elites do not tread all over them. Socialism also tries to provide increased opportunity for those who are disadvantaged, or who don’t have the luck to be born to wealthy parents, without lowering the opportunities for those who start off more fortunate. Capitalism seems to try to make it harder for people to succeed if they are not born into the right class. Metaphorically, if capitalism wants dancers, it breaks the legs of everyone who is poor, has them set badly, and then claims that the wealthy dance better because they have worked harder and have more intrinsic talent. Sure some people with broken legs will find a new way of dancing, but the corporate media will scoff endlessly. Socialism approves of social mobility and people bettering themselves, even when they are not of the right class.

    Attempting to curb corporate power and insure against bad luck, usually translates into government policies such as there should be a minimum wage (rather than that competition between workers should bottom out below what is needed to live). There should be some kind of unemployment benefits (so that people can risk changing work, or not be forced to work for wages less than the benefits) and this benefit should not just time out. There is usually some kind of provision for health care, so that poor people do not have to ‘choose’ to die or suffer unnecessarily. There is usually a provision for basic pensions, or a compensation scheme, for people who are ill or injured and cannot work.

    Socialism believes that a people can only govern themselves if there is a good education system not influenced entirely by commercial factors, as commerce has little relationship to truth. So it usually believes that spending taxpayers’ money on such a system is a good investment, although it allows people to spend their own money, without subsidy, on their ideas of education, provided it meets some basic quality standards – there will always be debate about these. A socialist state usually has a well funded and independent media provider – which is free of government intervention and commercial control – this has to be fought for, as capitalists like controlling all information. Ideally a socialist government should not be able to declare war unless there is a direct attack on the country, or it consults with the people.

    There are usually regulations on the ‘free market’ (as the desire of corporations to control markets completely is known), so that people cannot be injured, maimed or killed at work without some employer responsibility or compensation from the system. There are usually regulations so that corporations cannot poison, or pollute with complete impunity. It is usually expected that money earned in a country should be taxed in that country, as the money is earned in a situation built by that taxation and spending. Socialism encourages unions so that workers have some bargaining power at work and some rough power equality with their employers.

    The classic socialist states usually ran businesses in competition with private companies. The idea of this was to prevent cartels forming, to have real competition, and to try and foster innovation which is commercially risky. Socialist governments usually try and make sure there is an independent science sector as well to avoid commercial control and the issuing of harmful but profitable substances, and to try and prevent patents from inhibiting research and innovation.

    Basically socialism is about minimising the top down organisation that you get in capitalism where, when things are unchecked, you end up with a simple plutocracy and those who have the money have all the power – like we have now. Socialism encourages all people to participate in their governmental process at whatever level they wish to. It does not panic at the thought of popular action and power sharing.

    Naturally plutocrats hate the idea of sharing power, so they spend a lot of money pretending that capitalist practice leads to liberty and good for all. It has never done so. Capitalism always leads to capitalists capturing the government and using it to further their interests at the expense of everyone else.

    U.S. Dictatorship

    January 13, 2018

    Can the USA become Fascist?

    A lot depends on what you mean by fascism. After all Hitler and Mussolini’s ideas were significantly different from each other, and yet had significant resemblance to Stalin’s. If you mean a militaristic and nationalist state of the kind found in Germany and Italy in the 1930s, then yes its possible if the US keeps increasing military spending, militarizing its police, supporting arms manufacturers, threatening other States, or expelling inferior people who are not “real Americans”. If you mean a state which unifies and includes the established corporate sector, then yes its probable (if that is not already standard practice). If you mean a State in which it is respectable and beneficial to be a self proclaimed neo-Nazi, then yes. If you mean a state which sacrifices its people to fantasy, then we already have that. Fascism requires people have a flexible attitude to reality and truth; truth is what the party says it is.

    It is, however, probably better to scrap the term fascism and ponder about dictatorial governance. If, by fascism you really mean a personalized dictatorship in which everyone has to say how wonderful the dictator is, and there is constant heavy likelihood of war – then the US is also pretty close to that.

    Conservatives often say that dictatorship cannot happen under the Republicans because they believe in individual responsibility and free markets. However, not all well-intentioned ideas work out in practice, or are even implemented by those who espouse them. To me, it often seems that Republican politicians primarily act to increase the powers of the wealthy and the corporate sector and remove any inhibitions on those powers – this is what they mean by ‘free markets’ – and this has nothing to do with freedom or liberty. Likewise conservatives are supposed to respect traditions and procedures. However, the Republicans seem largely to respect traditions and procedures when those traditions support their ‘side’. The difference between the way they have encouraged investigation of the Clintons over relatively trivial matters and seem to be trying to shut down investigations into this President on relatively serious matters is otherwise remarkable. Dictatorship encourages ‘sides’ and ‘allegiances’, and the idea that the other side is evil. To some extent, it depends on this.

    Dictatorships often start off abusing people that disagree with them, turn blind eyes when people on their side try to threaten others physically, and then try to shut opposition down (Charlottesville). If a member of the party brings bad news or agrees with the other side (even once) then they are to be exiled and punished; setting an example and warning against independent thought for the others (think of Bannon). This seems to be the current US President’s only mode of debate. Fellow Republicans appear to be falling in line.

    In accordance with the idea of allegiance being truth, dictatorships do not like the idea of umpires, neutral observers or scientists, if these people do not always obey the ideology and swallow the ideological truth. This position is never clearly enunciated, because the ideology must be true and disbelievers are criminal, so umpires are always potentially ‘biased’. Lies, confusion of knowledge, accusations of lies, false theories, common-sense that is wrong, and so on are part of dictatorship. People live in fantasy and denial (climate change, ‘free markets’). The position clearly does not respect individual rights, or reality. Dictatorships also try to stack positions of authority with people who are loyal and subservient rather than competent. This is true to a great extent of many of Trump’s appointments.

    The Dictator is said to be a super-genius who everyone must look up to as their savior. He is unique, beyond the law and an exemplar for everyone, no matter what his real history, because he is the best. He knows more than generals. Knows more than scientists. Knows more than specialists in any field. He instinctively knows what is right…. criticism of him suggests the critic is an evil fool who must be repudiated and stomped on. Remind you of anyone?

    This pattern is entirely in keeping with what social category theory would predict, and indeed suggests it may well be deliberately engineered. So how do you make dictators?

    Firstly, you remember that people are more easily persuaded by people they identify with, who claim to be on their side. You deliberately increase the negative reactions towards people from outgroups. You take over the news media and make it more extreme. You say all other disagreeing media is hopelessly biased. You persuade people that other media is attacking our group. You make it up if you have to. You get people angry. Your audience is said to be abandoned by the other media and side of politics, they are the victims. This makes your viewers less likely to use other media. You lie shamelessly. You repeat the falsehoods continually so they become part of the background. You destroy any linkages with the other side, by making lack of linkage a matter of loyalty and of distrust of others. You expand into extremism, linking people together who are hostile to your ‘enemies’. This further destroys links between moderates, and moves people to defend extremists and separate themselves further from those on the other side. You pretend that your side is fighting against power, even when its policies do nothing other than support power. Everyone who argues differently must suffer or be exiled. This helps reinforce group loyalties. You gradually keep increasing the tensions until the system breaks and a savior from your group comes along, and its does not matter that he treats the outgroups badly, because they are the villains. You say you are defending the nation and tradition, while you tear those traditions down. You help this with abuse, force and violence, making the violence more and more natural. If corruption on your side becomes visible, then you argue that the other side is equally corrupt if not worse.

    These are some steps towards making a dictator. They boil down to: reinforce group identities, together with group boundaries and exclusions. Control information, and build anger against outgroups.

    What do you do to prevent loony personalized Dictators?

    Don’t think that because you are a nice person and well intentioned, that other people on your side cannot do bad things. Be suspicious of ingroups and outgroups, the more the boundaries seem forced.

    Imagine your response if the other side behaved the way your side is behaving, and see if you are consistent. (ie what would your response be if the Russians had helped Clinton win, if they had had contact with high up people in her electoral campaign, if people in Campaign headquarters had lied about those contacts, and if Democrats where trying to shut the inquiry down claiming it was a harmful witch hunt). This helps restore perspectives and spread ‘evil’ around, rather than concentrate it.

    Make sure powerful people obey the law and get punished equally to poorer people, and don’t have special exemptions for them – especially if they are identified with your side.

    If powerful people look like they have committed treason or other crimes then it must be investigated, no matter how inconvenient it may be for your side’s victory.

    Support traditional checks and balances, and traditional procedures – especially if they seem inconvenient.

    Make sure you don’t strip away rights from ordinary people. (And recognize that rights always involve an inhibition of other people’s rights to take away those rights. For example, a right of private property depends against stopping the rights of others to take that property away, or paying a portion of that property to guarantee the rest of it. So rights are always in conflict, especially with previous privilege.)

    Make sure you don’t help a powerful class of people get more powerful.
    Do not support increases in military spending, especially if the threat is vague.

    Do not support the expansion of weaponry sales elsewhere, as that just encourages instability and increases the likelihood of war.

    Support candidates who actually listen to the other side, because not listening to any one else is a mark of dictatorial attitudes.

    Don’t support people who argue by abuse or threat.

    Support people who listen to science rather than ideology – they are more in tune with reality, and used to letting ideology go.

    Recognise that Dictatorship, and ‘cult of personality’ is a particular form of intensive group loyalty and unquestioning allegiance. It usually comes together with scapegoating, intolerance and militarism. It seems well suited to large scale societies and requires vigilance to avoid.

    Virtue is not easy. Organize, before you get organized.

    Never think it cannot happen simply because of the virtue of your side of politics, and then it is far less likely to occur.