- POPULAR CULTURE
- MENTAL HEALTH
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
- APPLIED SCIENCES
- PRINT & MEDIA
GOVERNMENT AND LAW, INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY, BUSINESS AND COMMERCE
This section of my website is concerned with: (i) Government and Law, (ii) Industry and Technology, and (iii) Business and Commerce. The subject of "Law" is found toward the end of this part, this page, of my website. I hope, when a 5th edition of this website comes online in the years ahead, that the subject of Law will have its own sub-section, its own separate heading at my website. For now, though, for the years of this 4th edition of my website beginning, as it did, in 2011, the subject of "Law" will be found toward the end of this website page, a page which deals with, firstly, "Government", secondly, "Industry and Technology" and, finally, "Business and Commerce."
This website now has more than 100 sections, sub-sections, and divisions within sub-sections. My current site platform, designed by Define Studio in Mosman NSW, was only able to accommodate, to provide, separate sub-sections and divisions to some, but not all, of the many divisions of the vast field of knowledge and the academic subjects into which knowledge can be divided. I have had to do some degree of 'doubling-up' in this 4th edition of my site to cover some of the important subjects that I did not originally anticipate when this 4th edition was at the planning stage & slowly coming into being back in late 2010 and early 2011. When my design company, Define Studio, and I were planning the initial layout of this site, we set the framework at some 83 separate divisions or subject categories. I hope in the 5th edition of this site, as I say above, to be able to to do some further reorganization and, hopefully, provide a unique sub-section for many more, if not each & all, of the major divisions of knowledge, academic study and human experience. Such is my aim; time wll tell how successful I will be in the years ahead in fulfilling this aim or goal. As I go through my 70s in the years, 2014 to 2024, my website is now providing me with an enriching experience as I gather together the myriad strands of my generalist knowledge and interest, teaching and learning.
In the social sciences the term 'government' refers to the particular group of people which acts as the elected and appointed aspects of an administrative bureaucracy of a society at any given time. Nation states, and sub-sections of nation states, usually referred to as provinces or states, are served by a continuous succession of different governments. Each successive government is composed of a specialized and privileged body of individuals, who monopolize political decision-making, and are separated by status and organization from the population as a whole. Their function is to enforce existing laws, legislate new ones, and arbitrate conflicts via their monopoly on violence. In some societies, this group is often a self-perpetuating or hereditary class. In other societies, such as democracies, the political roles remain. There is, though, a frequent turnover of those actually filling the positions. In the last century, beginning with the League of Nations in 1919, there has been a slowly evolving international government as well as several regional governments.
When the discipline of regional development emerged in the 1950s it had a strong economics basis and a focus on what firms did in regions and how their performance influenced a range of economic indicators: employment, profit, GDP & growth. Towards the end of the 20th century, regional development became far more multi-disciplinary in its approach. Political science, public policy and sociology became critical disciplines alongside economics focusing more on the notion of what a region might be and how a range of factors – not just economic – shaped the idea of a region.
In most Western societies, there is a clear distinction between a government & the state. Public disapproval of a particular government expressed, for example, by not re-electing an incumbent, does not necessarily represent disapproval of the state itself, that is, of the particular framework of government. However, in some totalitarian regimes, there is not a clear distinction between the regime, the bureaucractic apparatus, and the state. In fact, leaders in such regimes often attempt to deliberately blur the lines between the two in order to conflate their own interests with those of the polity.
The 14th century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun(1332-1406) was a Arab Muslim historiographer and historian, and one of the founding fathers of modern historiography, sociology & economics. He defined the government as "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself". Ernest Gellner(1925-1995), a British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist, who was described by The Daily Telegraph when he died as one of the world's most vigorous intellectuals & by The Independent as a "one-man crusade for critical rationalism" considered Ibn Khaldun's definition to be the best in the history of political theory. For Ibn Khaldun, government should be restrained to a minimum; it is a necessary evil; it is the constraint of men by other men.
GOVERNMENT AND PASTORAL POWER
The term “pastoral power” was coined by Michel Foucault in a work published in 1999.(1) Foucault(1926-1984) was a French philosopher, historian, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. His philosophical theories addressed the nature of power and the manner in which it functions, the means by which it controls knowledge and vice versa, and how it is used as a form of social control. Foucault is best known for his histories of ideas and critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, the social anthropology of medicine, the human sciences, the prison system, and the history of human sexuality. His writings on power, knowledge, and discourse have been widely influential in both academic and activist circles.
"Pastoral power" describes the specific character and modes of articulation where ‘the individual’ is opened-up, as it were; for example, between confessor and confessed, teacher and pupil, doctor and patient. The interiority, the inner life, of the individual is exposed and, in the process, the person becomes a subject that has: sins to be cleansed, a mind to be trained, and a body that is constantly monitored for signs of sickness. Pastoral power is, therefore, an operating power. It discloses presuppositions that imply how ‘knowledge’, ‘morality’, ‘progress’ and ‘reason’ – indeed the very ‘well-being’ and edification of the subject – depend upon a series of hierarchical social relations which strive for the eradication of error and ‘other’ forms of false or non-knowledge.
Pastoral power has specifically Christian origins. However, the emergence of nation-states and capitalism in the nineteenth century saw pastoral power elaborated and modified away from the sacred towards more ‘secular’ objectives. From the nineteenth century onwards, the pastoral function that came to dominate western society was no longer one of “salvation” by "a church", but “health and well-being, that is: sufficient wealth and standard of living, security and protection against accidents.” (Foucault 1996). The image of shepherd and flock had defined pastoral interaction as a relationship between an agent of salvation and Others. These 'Others' were characterized by a particular lack, that is by 'sin'. Government-as-administration, and government as medicine became part of a continuous development of pastoral power. It was expressed in new modalities and new-found domains of operation in the ‘fields’ of education, health and law. (1) M. Foucault,1999, “Pastoral Power and Political Reason” quoted in J. R. Carrette,(ed.), Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault. Manchester: Manchester University Press. For more on this theme go to this link, & click on the words 'click here.,' http://www.anthropologymatters.com/index.php?journal=anth_matters&page=article&op=view&path=118&path=233
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of decision-making or leadership processes. In modern nation-states, these processes, systems, are typically administered by a government. For more of a general outline of this field go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance Critical governance draws on a range of themes and disciplinary traditions within the social sciences. Governance, as a field, marks out and explores a distinct intellectual locale, and what research might usefully be conducted in such a locale . There are several thematic issues that can be usefully examined in the field of governance: citizenship, money, networks, science, space, and education.
The objective for each theme or issue is to explain how the central concept, critical governance studies, resonates in relation to the given theme. In some fields, there may be established and self-conscious bodies of critical thought that exist. Where this is not the case, the challenge may be to draw together fragments and elucidate core critical themes. There are different critical dispositions, for example: skeptical, dissident, dialectical, reflexive, transformative. However, it is possible that there will be a ‘family resemblance’ in the nature & style of critique in each area. All the issues and themes touch on the following topics:
1. The historical development of relevant governance orthodoxies, if any, against which contemporary critique is oriented and the way they shape the discipline(s).
2. The nature, characteristics, appropriateness and limits of existing critical literatures.
3. Explanation of the critical orientation(s) proposed in each area, for example, explaining the critical methodology/methodologies employed, evaluating/criticizing existing critical methodologies.
4. The distinctiveness of the critique(s) of the dominant paradigm(s) developed and their relevance for studying/changing contemporary governance.
5. Boundary issues: where is there scope for cross-fertilization across porous thematic/disciplinary boundaries?
6. The research agenda: where should critical governance studies in this field go next?
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, that is. constitute, what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single document ,or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to embody a written constitution; if they are written down in a single comprehensive document, it is said to embody a codified constitution.
Constitutions concern different levels of organizations, from sovereign states to companies and unincorporated associations. A treaty which establishes an international organization is also its constitution, in that it would define how that organization is constituted. Within states, whether sovereign or federated, a constitution defines the principles upon which the state is based, the procedure in which laws are made & by whom. Some constitutions, especially codified constitutions, also act as limiters of state power, by establishing lines which a state's rulers cannot cross, such as fundamental rights. For more on this subject go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution
THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT
For a review in The New York Review of Books entitled "It’s in Your Own Best Interest" by Samuel Freeman readers will find a discussion of the future of government. Simpler: The Future of Government by Cass R. Sunstein is the book being reviewed. The review begins as follows: "Public, political, and academic opinion about the role of government has changed considerably since the early 1980s, since I began to write seriously, get published, and take an interest in my memoirs. There is now a widespread presumption that private, free-market solutions are the appropriate way to address not just economic but also social and political issues. In the spirit of our free-market era, Simpler: The Future of Government outlines strategies that regulate economic behavior but also promote individual welfare. This promotion is done by preserving freedom of choice rather than by mandates, prohibitions, subsidies, and other incentives. Go to this link for more:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/oct/24/its-your-own-best-interest/
The US is not a totalitarian society, and no equivalent of Big Brother runs it. We know little about the NSA, the National Security Agency, and its extensive domestic surveillance programs. We know little about what the NSA does with most of the information available to it. It claims to have exposed a number of terrorist plots. We do not know what effects its activities may have on the lives of most American citizens. Committees of Congress, and a special federal court are charged with overseeing its work. They are committed to secrecy; a court can hear appeals only from the government.
James Bamford(1946- ) is an American bestselling author and journalist noted for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA). Bamford has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, as a distinguished visiting professor and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper's, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his piece "The Man Who Sold The War," published in Rolling Stone. For those wanting to know more about this subject and the NSA, you can read James Bamford's article in The New York Review of Books at: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/aug/15/nsa-they-know-much-more-you-think/
The need to understand security through the interrelationships of surveillance, labor, & capital has become a pressing issue since the revelations of Edward Snowdon about the scope of the National Security Agency's (NSA) pervasive monitoring programs in 2013. Security is a network of social modes autonomously enacting authority, that is, the security apparatus. Central to this framework is the aspiration to the state of information, most apparent in the surveillance Snowden documented, where vast amounts of information are collected and stored precisely so that they can be instrumentally deployed to both predict future behaviors and police past actions.
The authorization for increasing the scope and breadth of collected information originates with this aspiration. This is simply one dimension of the political economy of digital capitalism. It can not be considered in isolation. Addressing the challenges posed by pervasive monitoring requires the recognition that it is not an isolated phenomenon. Rather, it is reflective of a broader collection of mutually reinforcing tendencies in digital capitalism itself. Surveillance, however broad and omnipresent, nevertheless is simply an epiphenomenon resulting from other, more fundamental demands.
Contemporary surveillance has its origins with earlier forms of surveillance. This issue was an ongoing concern throughout the 20th century, immediately apparent not only in fictional works like George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four, published in 1949, but in the political realm as well. The scandal over wiretapping in the 1970s known as "Watergate" is an example here. There were only occasional moments when the extent of the surveillance undertaken ever became apparent. Its clandestine nature has limited analysis and consideration of its role in digital capitalism.
By nature, surveillance is surreptitious, secretive, suspected, but only rarely demonstrated. At the same time, it also demands deception about its existence, a fact that Orwell noted in his novel. The uncertainty prior to Snowden's revelations is reflective of these ambiguities: the memoranda and other documentation leaked to the press by Snowden, unlike similar leaks and claims made in the decade prior to his highly visible release of NSA documents, provided direct evidence of not only the (formerly) conspiracy theorists' claim that surveillance is omnipresent, but the extent of its technical capacities to record, integrate, and process the vast amount of data generated by automating this surveillance so it no longer requires human oversight. To assert the materiality of the digital against disavowals of the physical dimensions of these technologies, in opposition to the 'aura of the digital,' is essential to this analysis.
Digital automation increasingly performs tasks that were formerly the exclusive domain of human intelligence, in the process enabling a broader and more complete surveillance than ever before. The ability to automate the recognition of faces, the ability to listen and transcribe speech, both tasks that require a different kind of intelligence than found in a clockwork mechanism, has enabled the pervasive monitoring of everyone's every activity rather than a small portion of those performed by selected individuals -- this expansive surveillance system is what Snowden revealed. For more on this subject and this essay go to:http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=730
How did a constitutional law professor, vocal critic of President George W. Bush’s war on terror, and Nobel Peace Prize winner come to oversee an unprecedented campaign of secret targeted killing with drones, as well as the most extensive dragnet surveillance that the world has ever seen? While some have blamed President Barack Obama’s personal failings, and others have argued that these acts vindicate Bush’s policies, both explanations miss a deeper reality. These programs are best understood not as unique to Obama or Bush, or even the United States, but as reflections of how the world is changing in ways that threaten not only fundamental human rights to life and privacy, but the essence of democracy itself. As such, they raise questions that will not go away under this president or the next, but that will with increasing urgency confront nations around the world.
In December 2014 Edward Snowden received the Right Livelihood Honorary Award from the Swedish Parliament for his courage & skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and human rights. The essence of democracy is and has been up for grabs in recent years. The drone and surveillance programs, like much of counterterrorism today, are driven principally by two phenomena: on the one hand, previously unthinkable terrorist threats, and on the other, equally unanticipated technological developments. These twin factors have motivated and enabled security agencies to undertake measures that were once impossible—and to do so in secret, without the awareness, much less approval, of the people on whose behalf they act.
Despite his criticisms of President Bush’s war on terror, Obama has maintained and even escalated some of Bush’s most controversial measures. Obama deserves credit for ending torture and shutting down the CIA’s secret prisons, in which, as the recently disclosed report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) shows, CIA agents and contractors subjected detainees to brutal, unconscionable, and illegal treatment. Obama attempted (albeit unsuccessfully) to close Guantánamo. But he has also sharply increased remote-controlled killings of suspected terrorists. According to the New America Foundation, President Bush launched forty-nine drone strikes, but Obama more than 440. They have been used in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, countries with which we are not at war, often far from any battlefield. And the strikes have been used to kill many persons who were not at the time of their deaths engaged in any imminent hostilities against the USA. For more of David Dole's essay "Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy" in the New York Review of Books(8/1/'15) go to: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jan/08/must-counterterrorism-cancel-democracy/?insrc=hpma
The “Suspicion” issue of M/C Journal of Media and Culture(V.15, N.1, 2012) explores the idea, the notion, of 'suspicion' as both critical approach & cultural concept, inviting readers to engage with its interpretive potential in a world where mistrust has become the norm. Contemporary Western culture is characterised by a climate of increased border security and surveillance, especially since 9/11. Judith Butler identifies an increase in paranoia and censorship associated with these factors, which has greatly affected freedom of speech, politics, the press, and what constitutes the public sphere. These shifts have had considerable impact on how we relate to words and images. In such a culture of distrust—of authority, of politics, and of supposed objective truth—how revealing or misleading is suspicion as a critical methodology? This issue of M/C Journal attempts to unravel that question; although it promises no answers, what it does offer is insight into the complexities of using suspicion to critique a range of texts, not all of which lend themselves so easily to a suspicious reading.
The hermeneutics of suspicion, an approach introduced by Paul Ricoeur, assumes that the manifest or surface meaning of a text is a veil that masks its true agenda. As a critical approach, suspicion reads against the text, calling into question the authenticity of representation. The essays collected here use suspicion to explore contemporary fiction, film, and imagery, attempting not only to expose their hidden meanings, but to uncover the perspicacity of the suspicious approach itself. In her feature paper, “Critique & the Hermeneutics of Suspicion,” Rita Felski discusses the place of suspicion in contemporary critical theory, questioning its neglect in favour of critique, which is deemed more “intellectually rigorous” and less prone to the potential pitfalls of subjectivity. Felski challenges us to reconsider this view, positing that the “muted affective state” of suspicion may offer “an antidote to the charisma of critique,” bringing an element of pleasure and “game-like sparring” to the process of analysing a text. Felski acknowledges that “contemporary styles of critical argument are affective as well as analytical, conjuring up distinctive dispositions and relations to their object.” And indeed each of the articles in this collection are concerned, across a range of disciplines, with a text’s potential to elicit an affective response, whether from within a text, outside of it, or from some uncertain position in between. For more go to: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/issue/view/suspicion
Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a member of astate. A person may have multiple citizenships and a person who does not have citizenship of any state is said to be stateless. Nationality is often used as a synonym for citizenship in English, notably in international law, although the term is sometimes understood as denoting a person's membership of a nation (a large ethnic group). In some countries, e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom, nationality and citizenship can have different meanings. For more information, see "Nationality" and go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship
The issue of M/C Journal of Media & Culture(V.11, N. 1, 2008) asks what’s your vote worth? And what does citizenship mean now? These questions are pressing, not only for the authors and editors of this special issue, but for anyone who contends with the challenges & opportunities presented by the relationship of the individual to the modern state, the difficulty and necessity of effecting change in our polities, and the needs of individuals and communities within frameworks of unequally representative democracies. And we think that’s pretty well all of us.
Talk of voting & citizenship also raises further questions about the relationship of macro-level power politics to the mundane sphere of everyday lives of individuals. Voting is a decision that is decidedly personal, requiring the seclusion of the ballot-box and, in Australia at least, a personal inscription of one’s choice on the ballot paper. It’s an important externalisation of our private thoughts and concerns, and it links us, through our nominated representative, to the machinery of State. Citizenship is a matter of rights and duties, and describes all that we are able or expected to do in our relationship with the State and in our membership of communities, however these defined. Our level of activity as citizens is an expression of our affective relationship with State and community – the political volunteerism of small donations and envelope-stuffing, the assertions of protest, membership in unions, parties or community groups are all ways in which our mundane lives link up with tectonic shifts in national, even global governance. For for on this subject and several papers of relevance go to: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/issue/view/vote-citizen
GEORGE ORWELL, ME AND GOVERNMENT
The famous writer George Orwell had a horror of politics. "I am definitely 'left,' but I believe that a writer can only remain honest if he keeps free of party labels," wrote Orwell. During the Depression in the 1930s Orwell developed a broad nonpartisan commitment to “socialism." My politics, like Orwell's, is also non-partisan. From the very start, literature was always Orwell’s first concern. This was not true of me. The social sciences were my first concern but not until I got to university in 1963 at the age of 19. Orwell wrote that "since early childhood I always knew I wanted to write.” This statement is repeated in various forms, all through his years, 'til the end. My desire to write was a slowly evolving process from the 1960s through the 1990s. It took both Orwell and I a long time, and incredibly hard work, to discover what to write and how to write it. His first literary attempt was a long poem, eventually discarded. My first literary efforts were essays in high school and university and they were also, and virtually, all discarded. According to Irving Howe(1920-1993), American literary and social critic, Orwell was "the best English essayist since William Hazlitt, and perhaps since Dr Johnson.
William Hazlitt(1778-1830) was an English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism. He was also an art and drama critic, social commentator and philosopher, as well as a painter. He is now considered one of the great critics and essayists of the English language. Writing novels became Orwell's dominant passion--and an accursed ordeal--"writing a novel is agony.” He finally concluded, some would say accurately, “I am not a real novelist.” And yet shortly before he died he was still excitedly announcing to his friend and publisher Fredric Warburg, “I have a stunning idea for a very short novel." My dominant literary passion did not really crystallize until I did not have to attend to jobs and endless meetings, to socializing and community responsibilities, in other words until I retired and took a sea-change. From 1999 onwards I wrote essays and poetry, letters and journals, an immense variety of internet posts.
In July 1935 the capstone of its newly found identity, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, got its new and present name. During the fight against organized crime, as that fight developed a more sophisticated and scientific approach in the early-to-mid ‘30s, the FBI apprehended or killed a number of notorious criminals who carried out kidnappings, robberies, and murders throughout the nation. These notorious criminals included: John Dillinger, "Baby- Face" Nelson, Kate "Ma" Barker, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, and George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
J. Edgar Hoover, the first FBI director, used the experience of John Dillinger & his gang as part of his campaign to convince the federal government to launch a national scientific platform within the FBI. Melvin Purvis led the investigation and killing of John Dillinger. Purvis captured more public enemies than any other agent in FBI history, a record that still stands. Tonight I watched Public Enemies,(1) a 2009 American biographical-crime film, written and directed by Michael Mann. It was an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34.
Hoover was chiefly responsible for creating a scientific crime detection system or laboratory. That scientific-lab, the early forerunner of today's CSI, officially opened in 1932. It was all part of Hoover's game plan, his work, and his vision. He wanted to professionalize criminal investigations in the then national war on crime. As the decade of the '30s came to a close, the FBI found itself shifting gears to a new world of bad-guys. That world was the preamble to WW2 which was beginning to brew in Europe. Pro-Nazi groups were becoming more vocal in the U.S. These groups claimed, as part of their campaign and appeal, that fascism was the answer to American woes. The gangsters of the 1930s, it turned out, were just a prelude to the darker days of pre-war, war, and post-war, to come.
On 25 August 1953, in response to another wave of organized crime, the FBI created the Top Hoodlum Program. The national office directed field offices to gather information on mobsters in their states & territories, & then to report the data regularly to Washington. A centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers, thus, came into being.(2) Interested readers can Google the history of the CIA, if they are interested in this story here.
The transition from a loosely connected movement operating, for the most part, locally & state-wide, to a fully organized national-country-wide-one can be said to have ended in 1925. Going national, having a federal system happened to many groups in the USA as the early decades of the 20th century rolled-along. By 1936 the nationally elected body, the national spiritual assembly of the Baha'is of the United States & Canada, & its national committees, as well as many locally elected groups, local spiritual assemblies, had become a sufficiently strong force to come together for the prosecution of an international missionary program.(3) I have been associated with that program now for more than 60 years: 1953 to 2014.- Ron Price with thanks to (1) Public Enemies, 7TWO TV, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., 3-4 June 2013, (2) Several threads at Wikipedia, and (3) Loni Bramson-Lerche, “Development of Baha’i Administration”, Studies In Babi and Baha’i History, Vol.1, Moojan Momen, editor, Kalimat Press, 1982, pp.258-275.
One to two per cent went to university that year,(1)
and most people in the UK ate bread, margarine,
dripping, tea and a little condensed milk if they
were lucky, with tragedy staring many working
class people in the face. Conditions slowly rose
for most…The form and pattern slowly set for a
new World Order as total global war broke-out.
Massive turbulence rose over Europe, a sense of
crisis became endemic, & a familiar, reactionary,
pervasive, conservatism gripped-us everywhere,
indeed dripped over lounge-rooms in the West
as laughing-gas was pumped into homes daily
and nightly and infotainment kept people busy
and happy as the world rolled into more chaos.
Those roaring twenties gave way to mythologized
hungry thirties; a silent generation, and an equally
mythologized set of millions, gave way to the war
babies-that is where I came in 23 July 1944: 7 a.m.
three days after another attempt on old Hitler.(2)
We went to two billion during that decade as a Baha’i(3)
administration served to unify and propagate endlessly
fragrances of mercy wafting, finally, sensibly-insensibly
over all created things as integration and disintegration
came to grip humankind everywhere. Like a tempest it
was—unprecedented in its magnitude, unpredictable in
its scope, and unimaginably glorious in its final—ultimate
consequences---sweeping the face of the planet earth!
1 In 1935 Australia's population was less than 7 million. The university participation level was relatively low. Australia had six universities and two university colleges with combined student numbers of about 12,000. In the UK, USA, and Canada, the per cent of students going to university did not exceed 2%.
2 On 20 July 1944 yet another attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia.
3 The global population hit two billion in the 1920s, as that war on crime heated-up. It hit three billion by 1960 when I was 15, and six billion by 2000 as I headed for the age of 60. In 2015, in the last six months of my 71st year, the global population is 7.4 billion.
7/6/'13 to 3/1/'15.
Corporate governance broadly refers to the mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and directed. Governance structures identify the distribution of rights & responsibilities among different participants in the corporation. Such participants include: the board of directors, managers, shareholders, creditors, auditors, regulators, & other stakeholders. Governance also includes the rules and procedures for making decisions in corporate affairs. Corporate governance includes the processes through which corporations' objectives are set & pursued in the context of the social, regulatory and market environment.
Governance mechanisms include monitoring the actions, policies and decisions of corporations & their agents. Corporate governance practices are affected by attempts to align the interests of stakeholders. Interest in the corporate governance practices of modern corporations, particularly in relation to accountability, increased following the high-profile collapses of a number of large corporations during 2001–2002, most of which involved accounting fraud; and then again after the recent financial crisis in 2008.
Corporate scandals of various forms have maintained public & political interest in the regulation of corporate governance. In the U.S., these include Enron and MCI Inc.(formerly WorldCom). Their demise is associated with the U.S. federal government passing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, intending to restore public confidence in corporate governance. Comparable failures in Australia (HIH, One.Tel) are associated with the eventual passage of the CLERP 9 reforms. Similar corporate failures in other countries stimulated increased regulatory interest (e.g., Parmalat in Italy). For more on this subject go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_governance
The term “corporate culture” is quite vague, and the sociological studies about it are inconsistent and often wrapped in impenetrable jargon. No major company fails to tell its employees that irresponsible conduct will not be tolerated, and very few lack a substantial compliance program. What then is the basis for the assumption—at the heart of the Corporate Sentencing Guidelines and of almost all deferred prosecution agreements—that even though a substantial compliance program failed to prevent the wrongdoing at issue, an even more costly program will do so in the future?
Speaking of corporate governance and culture in a different and somewhat broader way, it is worth remembering that any reasonable shareholder wants his or her company’s executives to be highly energetic, characterized by initiative, competitiveness, innovativeness, & even aggressiveness, all in a quest for profitability. It may be that these lauded qualities, essential to success in any competitive company, may in some cases encourage questionable behavior. For example, Enron, before exposure of its fraud, was for six consecutive years named by Fortune magazine as one of America’s “most admired” companies mainly because of its highly innovative business practices. Unfortunately, such “innovation” extended to structuring its transactions in ways that made them appear far more profitable than they actually were. But does that mean that we want to use the criminal law to discourage innovation per se? For more on this subject go to:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/feb/19/justice-deferred-justice-denied/
Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, & many differing viewpoints & perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on ethics, rationality, law, religion, equity & fairness. Often, the general discussion of justice is divided into the realm of societal justice as found in theology, philosophy, and religion, as well as procedural justice as found in the study and application of the law. For more on justice go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice
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TOO BIG TO JAIL
A new book, Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations by Brandon L. Garrett(Harvard University Press, 400 pages) has been reviews in The New York Review of Books. "Beginning in the early 1990s & with increasing frequency thereafter," so writes Jed S. Rakoff, federal prosecutors began entering into “deferred prosecution” agreements with major corporations & large financial institutions. The typical arrangement involves the government agreeing to defer prosecuting the company for various federal felonies if the company, in addition to paying a financial penalty, agrees to introduce various “prophylactic” measures designed to prevent future such crimes and to “rehabilitate” the company’s “culture.” The crimes for which prosecution was thus deferred included felony violations of the securities laws, banking laws, antitrust laws, anti-money-laundering laws, food and drug laws, foreign corrupt practices laws, and numerous provisions of the general federal criminal code. For more of this review go to: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/feb/19/justice-deferred-justice-denied/
ETHICS, LAW AND POLITICS
The terms 'Left' and 'Right' in the world of social issues and partisan politics are really no longer the helpful terms they once were. Some political scientists have suggested that the classifications of "left" and "right" should no longer be used as meaningful in the modern complex world. Although these terms continue to be used, they advocate a more complex spectrum that attempts to combine political, economic and social dimensions.
The left–right political spectrum is a system of classifying political positions, ideologies and parties. Left-wing politics and right-wing politics are often presented as opposed, although a particular individual or group may take a left-wing stance on one matter and a right-wing stance on another. In France, where the terms originated, the Left has been called "the party of movement" and the Right "the party of order." The intermediate stance is called centrism and a person with such a position is a moderate. There is general agreement that the Left includes:anarchists, anti-capitalists, anti imperialists, autonomists, communists, democratic-socialists, feminists, greens, left-libertarians, progressives,secularists, socialists, social-democrats and social-liberals.
There is also general consensus that the Right includes: capitalists, conservatives, fascists, monarchists, nationalists, neoconservatives, neoliberals, reactionaries, right-libertarians, social-authoritarians, theocrats and traditionalists. For more on these terms, their history and their complexities go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left%E2%80%93right_politics I leave it to readers to decide where on this somewhat outdated spectrum they would place the following journal and its contents.
Ethical Spectacle is an online journal. Its aim is to shine a lantern on the intersection at which ethics, law and politics meet, or collide, in our civilization, particularly that part of our civilization known as the United States of America. This involves: (i) stating the obvious if no-one else has, or if the obvious is not getting enough attention; (ii) exposing and calling for the elimination of all double standards; (iii) examining what commonly used words & phrases really mean, as contrasted to what they appear to mean; (iv) promoting freedom of speech, compassion, fairness & humility as the fundamental building blocks of private and public life; (v) never forgetting that law is no substitute for morality, that a major part of moral standards cannot be enforced by laws, that all problems are best solved upstream, and that all rivers begin in the human heart. For an explanation of the origins of this journal and its editor: http://www.spectacle.org/bio.html . For many of this journal's back-issues go to: http://www.spectacle.org/past.html Many of the essays or articles are provocative, and my inclusion of these pieces from this online journal does not mean that I endorse the ideas or points of view contained therein.
STARS IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE
As I was heading into my last five years of FT employment as a teacher and lecturer in 1994, the ruling Hutu government in the then small African nation of Rwanda, set out to eradicate its Tutsi minority. The Rwandan Genocide, as this eradication program came to be called, consisted of the mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people. The Hutu people alleged that the Tutsi minority held an unfair monopoly of power in Rwanda. The majority Hutu people had come to power in the rebellion, the revolt, of 1959–62 which overthrew the Tutsi monarchy, and established a republic. I was just 15 years old in 1959, had just joined the Baha’i Faith, and played a lot of baseball, hockey and football. By 1962 I was working on my matriculation studies and had begun to travel and pioneer for the Canadian Baha’i community in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe.
In the colonialist period, under Belgian rule before 1959, the Tutsis & Hutus, the two ethnic groups concerned, had come to hate each other through systematized inequality and a struggle for power. It is a somewhat complex story that can be easily read by those interested. I shall say no more here. I certainly knew none of this back around 1960, occupied as I was with my local agenda, with family and student life, with growing-up, in the small town of Burlington Ontario with its then population of about 5000.
In August 1998 the largest war in modern African history began. Called the Second Congo War, it began on the eve of my retirement after 50 years in classrooms. It directly involved eight African nations as well as about 25 armed groups. It took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people mostly from disease and starvation. This war was the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighbouring countries. By then, by 2008, I was fully ensconced in retirement, had taken a sea-change, was on a pension, and was still as far removed from all this slaughter in Africa as I had been 14 years before or, indeed, from any of the problems on the African continent in all the post WW2 period. -Ron Price with thanks to "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace", SBSONE, 8:30-9:30 p.m. Parts 1-3, 18/10/’11 to 1/11/’11.
So much of the world’s slaughter
goes on in some parallel universe
as one eats one’s evening meal &
tries to get through one’s own life
unscathed by the slings-&-arrows
of outrageous fortune....Ill-equipped
to interpret the social commotion at
play throughout the planet, we listen
to the pundits of error & sink deeper
into the slough of despond, troubled
by forecasts of doom and doing battle
with wrongly informed imaginations as
our days pass swiftly as twinkling stars.1
1 Ridvan message 1999, The Universal House of Justice
2/11/'11 to 10/3/'15.
PHILANTHROPY and GOVERNMENT
The word philanthropy comes from the Greek & means "love of humanity" in the sense of caring and nourishing, developing and enhancing what it is to be human. This caring involves the benefactors' by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering; it also involves the beneficiaries by benefiting them. The most conventional modern definition is "private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life." This combines the social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century with the original humanistic tradition. This process also serves to contrast philanthropy with business, that is, private initiatives for private good, focusing on material prosperity. The contrast also exists with government philanthropy in which public initiatives are made for the public good focusing, for example, on law & order:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy
For an essay on the philanthropic connections of the Clinton Foundation: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jun/25/hillary-our-future/
BAHA'I EDUCATORS AND THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT
On September 26, 2011 Desmond Tutu and Jose Ramos-Horta joined in a call for release of Baha'i educators. This was reported in the Baha'i World News Service. The report began as follows:
As a number of Baha'i educators appear in court in Iran, two Nobel Peace Prize winners have sharply criticized the Iranian government, comparing its actions to "the Dark Ages of Europe" or the "Spanish Inquisition." The remarks by Desmond Tutu, the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, and Jose Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor, appear in an open letter to the academic community published today in the "Huffington Post," under the title 'Iran's war against knowledge.' In the letter, the Nobel laureates call upon the Iranian government to release unconditionally and drop charges against the seven Baha'is currently on trial in Iran for their educational activities.
"The forward progress of humankind in the last centuries has been fueled, more than any other factor, by increasing access to information, more rapid exchange of ideas, and in most parts of the world, universal education," they write. "So it is particularly shocking when despots and dictators in the twenty first century attempt to subjugate their own populations by attempting to deny education or information to their people. "Not only is it futile in the long term, it makes them appear fearful of the very age they live in, and haunted by the new thinkers in their midst." "Perhaps the most glaring example of this fear today is the denial of higher education to the members of the Baha'i Faith in Iran – a peaceful religion with no political agenda, which recognizes the unity of all religions," says the letter. For more on this subject go to: http://news.bahai.org/human-rights/iran/education/
Social policy is a term which is applied to various areas of policy, usually within a governmental or political setting, areas such as the welfare state and study of social services. It can refer to guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare, such as a person's quality of life. The Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics defines social policy as "an interdisciplinary and applied subject concerned with the analysis of societies' responses to social need." This analysis seeks to foster in its students a capacity to understand theory and evidence drawn from a wide range of social science disciplines, including: economics, sociology, psychology, geography, history, law, philosophy and political science. The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard University describes social policy as "public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality, education, and labor". Social policy research & teaching at the Department of Social Policy at Oxford is largely focused on international comparative work, as a full picture of the development and operation of a particular system can only be gained by benchmarking against other jurisdictions.
Social policy might also be described as actions that affect the well-being of members of a society through shaping the distribution of and access to goods & resources in that society. Social policy often deals withwicked problems. The discussion of "social policy" in the United States and Canada can also apply to governmental policy on social issues such as: tackling racism, LGBT rights (such as same-sex marriage), repealing abortion laws, enacting gun control, euthanasia, the use of recreational drugs, and the legal status of prostitution, inter alia. Social Policy Evaluation is found in the WWW Virtual Library. Evaluation is an online database of high quality Internet resources related to social policy evaluation. This resource is indexed under: Social and Behavioural Sciences. Go to this link for a host of resources: http://www.policy-evaluation.org/ For more on the subject of social policy go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_policy
(ii) A. INDUSTRY and B. TECHNOLOGY
Industry, the second topic or division at this part of my website, refers to the production of an economic good, either material or a service, within an economy. According to one framework of analysis, there are 4 key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction, and manufacturing; the tertiary sector, which deals with services, such as law and medicine, and distribution of manufactured goods; and the quaternary sector, a relatively new type of knowledge-industry focusing on technological research, design and development in such areas as computer programming, and biochemistry. A fifth, quinary, sector has been proposed encompassing nonprofit activities. The economy is also broadly separated into public sector and private sector, with industry generally categorized as private. Industries are also any business or manufacturing. Industries can be classified on the basis of raw materials,size and ownership.
Industry, as I say above, is the second focus, the second part, of this division of my webiste. Industry involves the production of an economic good or service within an economy. The field of Industry is often classified into three sectors: primary or extractive, secondary or manufacturing, and tertiary or services. Some authors add quaternary, the knowledge sector, and even quinary, the culture and research sectors. Industries can be classified on the basis of raw materials, size and ownership, as follows:
1. Raw Materials: Industries may be agriculture based, Marine based, Mineral based, Forest based....
2. Size: It refers to the amount of capital invested, number of people employed and the volume of production.
3. Ownership: Industries can be classified into private sector, state owned or public sector, joint sector and co-operative sector
For more on this topic go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry
The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge & information. They may variously also be referred to as the cultural industries, especially in Europe, or the creative economy, and most recently they have been denominated as the Orange Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Howkins'(1) creative economy comprises advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film,music, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games. Some scholars consider that education industry, including public and private services, is forming a part of creative industry. There remain, therefore, different definitions of the sector. Yet so far Howkins has not been internationally recognized. The creative industries have been seen to become increasingly important to economic well-being, proponents suggesting that "human creativity is the ultimate economic resource," and that “the industries of the twenty-first century will depend increasingly on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation". For more go to:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_industries (1) Howkins, John (2001), The Creative Economy: How People Make Money From Ideas, Penguin
Enthusiasm drives all people to make decisions and act, often without much thought. It is an important aspect of human life and is needed for development and risk-taking. Much has been written about the key driving role played by enthusiasm in the creative industries in enabling them to thrive. Indeed, much of the focus around enthusiasm and the creative industries has concerned itself with the degree to which exploitation of labour is made possible by the eagerness of creatives to ‘get a foot in the door’, or simply to do the work they love; this is most often discussed in terms of ‘precarious labour’. Precarious labour practices , as explained by Neilson & Rossiter, “generate new forms of subjectivity & connection, organised about networks of communication, cognition, and affect”. However there are also other ways in which enthusiasm can be apparent in the work of creative practitioners; for example, not only in relation to their work, but how this relates to, and is inspired by, the spaces and communities within which it is undertaken. As Drake recently argued, the relationship to locality is an important part of creative practice and can, in and of itself, be “a source of aesthetic inspiration”. For more go to: http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/137
Military–industrial complex, or military–industrial–congressional complex, is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the military-industrial base that supports them. These relationships include political contributions, political approval for military spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry. It is a type of iron triangle. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 17 January 1961, though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure. I had been a member of the Baha'i Faith for three months on that date, in January 1961. I mention this fact in my personal life because this religious-political commitment acquired in my mid-to-late teens has had a significant effect on the development of my understanding of government and industry. Readers will see, as they read the different sub-sections of my website, how this Faith, a Faith that claims to be the latest, the newest, of the Abrahamic religions, has influenced my understanding and interpretation of the many fields of knowledge.
The concept of a power elite was originally expressed by Daniel Guérin in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business. That book was about the fascist government support to heavy industry. A power elite can be defined as, "an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs." The Baha'i community in North America was, in 1936, making its first plans to launch a systematic teaching program which I have been involved with, in one way or another, for the last 60 years: 1953-2013. In those 60 years there has developed a vast literature on the notion, the concept, of a power elite.
I was in grade 11 when Eisenhower made his speech; it would be another 2 and 1/2 years, in the autumn of 1963, before I came across this term, this concept, of a military-industrial complex in the writings of sociologist C. Wright Mills. Mills(1916-1962) was an American sociologist, and a professor of sociology at Columbia University from 1946 until his death in 1962. Mills was published widely in popular and intellectual journals, and is remembered for several books. The year 1963 was my first year of university, but I would not seriously read Mills until 1965 when I was in my third year of university and studying five courses in sociology. Fifty-seven years ago, in 1956, C. Wright Mills completed his trilogy on American society with the publication of The Power Elite, which encompassed, updated, and greatly added to everything he had said in The New Men of Power (1948) and White Collar (1951). For an excellent retrospective of the writings of Mills go to: http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/theory/mills_review_2006.html and to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex
MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION AND INDUSTRY
From 1975 to 1979, and occasionally from 1979 to 1999, the year I retired from FT work as a lecturer, I had the pleasure and, sometimes, the discomfort, of studying: management and administration, organizational behaviour and a rich and complex interdisciplinary field with a broad relevance to the work I did in the teaching field. The literature in the several disciplines in this burgeoning field is immense, and I make no attempt here to do anything but provide a broad survey of the content of these disciplines that are part and parcel of what is variously called "organization studies", and "management studies," among several other disciplinary rubrics. Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of coordinating the efforts of people to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. Management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. Resourcing encompasses the deployment and manipulation of human resources, financial resources, technological resources, and natural resources.
Organizational studies is "the examination of how individuals construct organizational structures, processes, and practices and how these, in turn, shape social relations and create institutions that ultimately influence people", organizational studies comprise different areas that deal with the different aspects of the organizations, many of the approaches are functionalist but critical research also provide alternative frame for understanding in the field. For more on "Organization Studies" go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizational_studies. For more on "Management Studies" go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management
CHINA HOW WE MADE KILLING EASY
Consistent with the positions taken in public speeches by former State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, Attorney General Eric Holder, and White House counterterrorism advisor and CIA director-nominee John Brennan, a recent(2012/13) sixteen-page white paper argues that killing a US citizen with a drone and without trial is legal under domestic and international law, even if the individual is far from any battlefield, not a member of al-Qaeda, and not engaged in planning an imminent attack on the United States. To date, much of the concern about the administration’s drone program has stemmed from its largely secret character; unfortunately, the more we learn, the greater those concerns become. For more go to:https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/13cd0748474a5287 And even more go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military%E2%80%93industrial_complex
CHINA AND ITS GIVERNMENT
The politics of the People's Republic of China takes places in a framework of a socialist republic run by a single party, the Communist Party of China. The leadership[ambiguous] of the Communist Party is stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. State power within the People's Republic of China (PRC) is exercised through the Communist Party, the Central People's Government and their provincial and local representation. The Communist Party of China uses Internal Reference to manage & monitor internal disagreements among the people of People's Republic of China. Document Number Nine was circulated among the Chinese Communist Party in 2013 by Xi–Li Administration to tighten control of the ideological sphere in China to ensure the supreme leadership of the Communist State will not be challenged by Western influences. The politics, government, and industry of the world's 230+ countries will be found here when time, relevance, and circumance permit. More: http://www.nybooks.com/MORE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_China
Ultimate Factories is an American documentary television series that premiered in 2006 on the National Geographic Channel. The program explores the inner workings of factories worldwide. Each episode profiles the machinery and manpower behind each factory's main product, featuring close-ups, breakdowns, interviews, and side-stories to show the sequence of events to produce the product in the factory. Hoff Productions was one of the principal producers of this highly successful series. This doco also aired in non-US markets under the title, Megafactories. For more on this topic go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Factories
On 5 September 2012 I watched another program about these magafactories. It was about the Learjet. For more on this particular aspect of 'industry' readers can go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learjet
SLOUGH OF DESPOND: IN ONE GOVERNMENT AND ITS INDUSTRY
As I was retiring from full-time teaching and settling into George Town Tasmania in 1999, Boris Yeltsin(1931-2007) sent Russian troops into Kosovo and the then breakaway region of Chechnya in Russia. Yeltsin had been instrumental in engineering the final collapse of the Soviet Union and state communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The story of government and industry in Russia in these years is complex, too complex to deal with here. In August 1991 Yeltsin rallied his country against an attempt at a coup. This coup had been aimed at reestablishing state communism. His was one of the key political pushes in Russia to establish democracy in that country. He had made what some called "a stunning debut" as the Russian President.
Yeltsin possessed a confessional edge no previous President had possessed. This was reflected in his memoir which appeared in 1994 and it was entitled The Struggle For Russia. I had just begun to work on the second edition of my own memoir in 1994 which was becoming increasingly confessional as the editions appeared in my computer. Perhaps this was one reason I took an interest in his memoir.
In my last years as a teacher, 1991 to 1999, and in Yelstin’s years as President in those same years of 1991 to 1999, he presided over a chaotic Russia, over his own chaotic behaviour, his own depressions, his alcohol problem and the 75th anniversary of Lenin’s death(1924-1999). In 1991 Yeltsin declared the Soviet Union extinct; in 1993 he banned the Russian parliament and the Communist Party. During all of this time the Arc Project of the Baha’i community proceeded apace in Haifa Israel on Mt. Carmel. -Ron Price with thanks to “FoxNews.Com Home>World and Associated Press,” 23 April 2007.
That 4 year plan(1) was ending when
you resigned back in ’99, Boris, and
we were developing our resources
during a new paradigm and culture
80 years after the writing of those
Tablets during the Great War.(2)
The unfolding magnificence of the
Terraces was capturing attention as
a galvanic coherence was beginning
at last in expansion, consolidation,
in vision and activity, unbeknownst
in previous years & little understood.
It was a festive moment in those years
with their chronology of expectations
ending with the completion of that Arc.
I’m sorry you missed it all, dear Boris,
as tangled fears seized helpless millions
and your time was ending in that slough
of despond, phantoms of those wrongly
informed imaginations & those troubled
forecasts of doom which seem to have
been around all my life and yours, Boris.
(1) 1996-2000. A new Baha'i paradigm began in 1996, 80 years after the first words in the Tablets of the Divine Plan were written.
(2) Tablets of the Divine Plan unveiled in New York in 1919.
Ron Price 28 April 2007
.....in celebration of the 9th Day of Ridván BE 164.
WORK, LEISURE AND TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT
In 1930, John Maynard Keynes published a masterpiece that should be a compulsory reading for any educated person, a short essay entitled 'Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren'(Keynes 1930, 1972). John Maynard Keynes(1883-1946) was a British economist whose ideas fundamentally affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Keynes's short essay was an attempt to see what life would be like if peace, prosperity and techno-scientific developments were increasingly part of humanity’s future. Of course, things went otherwise. The Great Depression began in the same year, and World War II soon followed. In the subsequent decades, other disasters, conflicts and crises awaited humanity. Keynes's essay became a philosophical exercise that could collect dust in the libraries. Yet the fact that history took such terrible and tragic steps back does not in any way detract from Keynes’ brilliant insights. And to a generation that never saw enemy tanks in the streets of Paris or Rome, and will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War II, the essay has plenty of lessons to teach, especially about what we want to achieve in the future, our human project.
According to Keynes, roughly around the time of the Renaissance, techno-scientific development, capital growth and the mechanism of compound interest determined a sudden change in history, after which the rate of improvement in standards of living began to accelerate steadily and progressively. If left undisturbed—Keynes knew very well that this conditional often was a counterfactual—these three factors are sufficient to solve
the economic problem, that is, the struggle for subsistence. This is and was the primary, most pressing problem of the human race—not only of the human race, but of the whole of the biological kingdom from the beginnings of life in its most primitive forms. For more of this short essay or letter in the online journal Philosophy & Technology(2014) go to: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13347-014-0166-7/fulltext.html
SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY
Any political and its associated economic system, one could argue, can be justified only as the lesser of two evils. Giving up utopian dreams associated with, say, anarchism, is not so much a sign of maturity but, rather, a settling for some degree of chaos and contradiction in a pluralistic, a secular and scientific age. One of the many anthropological problems posed by consumer society is, how can a society exist without an absolute sacred, an authority rooted in the sacred? In historical terms, modern society is an anomaly. But the sacred has not disappeared; it has rather been integrated into the fabric of our culture, integrated so profoundly that we hardly recognize it as such.
Our society does not have any overarching, generally accepted, public sacred, but we do have: (i) a whole host of sacreds which play their own part in a highly variegated sacred domain in the public space, and (ii) a whole host, indeed, a myriad, of private sacreds. Each individual creates his or her own sense of the sacred, in part through consumer products, in part through residues from some traditional form of religion, in part through some MO which each individual creates for themselves over the terra incognita of existence.
The great advantage of this system, this modern society, is that it differentiates people without the need for rigid hierarchies, thus maximizing personal freedom. But the definition of limits is a problem and existential questions confront all men in all societies. All societies have been groping for a new vocabulary, for some sense of the totality of life uniting: the ethical, metaphysical, the meditative and the mystical. Of course, from my perspective, the Baha’i Faith provides such a noetic, integrating mechanism. Time will tell what social, governmental and economic mechanism will be the most fertile for this emerging global society in the coming centuries.
In the wake of continuing revelations of government spying programs and the recent Supreme Court ruling on DNA collection – both of which push the generally accepted boundaries against state intrusion on the person — the issue of privacy is one of the many things kept foremost in the public mind. The frequent mantra, heard from both media commentators and government officials, is that we face a “trade-off” between safety and convenience on one hand and privacy on the other. We just need, we are told, to find the right balance. For more on this theme, this balance between freedom and authority go to The Opinion Pages of the New York Times and Michael Lynch's article on 22 June 2013 "Privacy and the Threat to the Self" at this link:http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/22/privacy-and-the-threat-to-the-self/
Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques,crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology, and information technology. For more of this overview go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology
The online journal Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology(Fall, 2012) contains a review of two books: (i) The Techno-Human Condition, by Branden R. Allenby and Daniel R. Sarewitz (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011), and (ii) Theory of Engineering Evolution, ed. Yin Ruiyu, Li Bocong, and Wang Yingluo (Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2011). These two books offer contrasting appraisals of the situation in which human beings find themselves with the powers of engineering and technology. The Allenby and Sarewitz volume offers a nuanced positive and critical assessment of transhumanist visions for the present state of technology from the perspective of two American social science scholars.
The multi-authored volume written and edited by Yin, Li, and Wang presents a positive appraisal of the ways that engineering has contributed to bringing about the present and even future state of human development from the angle of some leading engineers and few social scientists in China. In some respects the two books illustrate the two traditions in the philosophy of technology described in Carl Mitcham’s Thinking through Technology (University of Chicago Press, 1994), that is, humanities and engineering approaches. From this perspective, the Allenby and Sarewitz volume exemplifies the humanistic approach and the work of Yin, Li, and Wang that of engineering philosophy of technology. Such an interpretation can help us appreciate some of the tensions that exist today between the two different scholarly communities in the United States and China. For more go to:http://www.pdcnet.org/8525763B0050E6F8/file/B5FC5C4A2
What role should the philosophy of technology have in philosophy at large? Is its role to be an applied discipline, transforming insights from more fundamental philosophical pursuits into conclusions that are relevant for technology? Or should philosophical reflections on technology be among the central concerns of philosophy, on a par with reflections on the soundness of arguments & the nature of moral judgments? This paper argues for the latter standpoint, starting out from a premise on the more general nature of philosophy. The point of departure is a seemingly self-evident observation: Philosophy is a human enterprise. It is concerned with the human condition: our capacities and limitations, our understanding of the world we live in, our relations to each other, our physical constructions, our mental constructions such as natural & formal languages. Historically, philosophy has evolved in response to changes in social conditions and belief systems. It would be illusory to believe that we can think as if we were brains in vats, or philosophize on behalf of all possible, potential beings, independently of who we are. The goal to make philosophy humanly universal, rather than specific for humans with certain backgrounds or life experiences, is difficult enough to reach; feminist philosophers have shown how far we are from achieving it. For more go to: http://www.pdcnet.org/8525763B0050E6F8/file/0FD76FB0EFD9FFA3C1257AEF
The following books and reports are discussed at this link to a recent article in The New York Review of Books(9/7/'15): http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jul/09/frenzy-about-high-tech-talent/
(i) Falling Behind?: Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent by Michael S. Teitelbaum(Princeton University Press, 300 pages);
(ii) Occupational Outlook Handbook: 2014–2015 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics(JIST, 1,000 pages);
(iii) A National Talent Strategy: a report by the Microsoft Corporation(32 pages and available at news.microsoft.com;
(iv) How to Secure Your H-1B Visa: A Practical Guide for International Professionals and Their US Employers by James A. Bach & Robert G. Werner (Apress, 200 pages);
(v) The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley(Simon and Schuster, 300 pages); and
(vi) Introduction to Technocracy by Howard Scott and others, John Day, 61 pages (1933)
Cybernetics is a transdisciplinary approach for exploring regulatory systems, their structures, constraints, and possibilities. In fact, today the name is often used in a rather loose way to imply "control of any system using technology", and this has blunted its meaning to such an extent that many writers avoid using it. Cybernetics is relevant to the study of systems, such as mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. Cybernetics is applicable when a system being analyzed incorporates a closed signaling loop; that is, where action by the system generates some change in its environment and that change is reflected in that system in some manner (feedback) that triggers a system change, originally referred to as a "circular causal" relationship. Some say this is necessary to a cybernetic perspective.
Cybernetics and Human Knowing is a quarterly international multi-&-transdisciplinary journal focusing on 2nd-order cybernetics and cybersemiotic approaches. The journal is devoted to: (i) the new understandings of the self-organizing processes of information and signification in living and artificial systems; and (ii) the new understandings of human knowing that have arisen through second order cybernetics & autopoiesis. The relation of second order cybernetics and autopoiesis to, & relevance for, other interdisciplinary approaches such as C.S. Peirce's semiotics & biosemiotics is also the focus of this journal. This new development within the area of knowledge-directed processes is a non-or-a-transdisciplinary approach. Through the concept of self-reference this new development explores: (a) cognition, communication and languaging in all of its manifestations; (b) our understanding of organization and information in human, artificial and natural systems; (c) our understanding within the natural and social sciences, humanities, computer, information and library science; and (d) our understanding in social practices like design, education, therapy, organization, teaching, medicine, art, management and politics. Because of their interdisciplinary character articles are written in such a way that people from other domains can understand them. Articles from practitioners are found in a special section. All articles are peer-reviewed. For more go to: http://www.chkjournal.org/ , and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics
Engineering is the application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to invent, design, build, maintain, and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes. The discipline of engineering is extremely broad, and encompasses a range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied science, technology and types of application.
The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development has defined "engineering" as: "The creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures, machines, apparatus, or manufacturing processes, or works utilizing them singly or in combination; or to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions; all as respects an intended function, economics of operation or safety to life and property." For more of this overview go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering
Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections is a documentary series originally broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, and later on BBC2. It is presented by Richard Hammond, and looks at how engineers and designers use historic inventions and clues from the natural world in ingenious ways to develop new buildings and machines. The show's format is very similar to that of James Burke's 1978 documentary series, Connections. The first series premiered on 15 May 2008, on National Geographic, and on 1 March 2010, on BBC2. The first series contained four episodes. The second series premiered on 7 September 2009, on National Geographic, and on 8 May 2010, on BBC2. The second series contained six episodes. For some details on this series go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hammond's_Engineering_Connections
The third series premiered on 8 May 2011, on BBC2 and contained six episodes. The BBC2 broadcasts of the first two series have a slightly shorter running time and contain less information than the original National Geographic broadcasts, with on average one minute of footage cut from every episode. None of the three series of the programme are available to purchase on DVD in the UK, however, all three can be watched on demand for subscribers of National Geographic on Sky, Virgin Media and BT Vision. In Australia, all three series are available on DVD, either separately or as a box-set. I saw some of the series in Tasmania in 2014. For more of this overview of engineering, just to reiterate, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering
(iii) A. BUSINESS and B. COMMERCE
A business, also known as an enterprise or afirm, is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are prevalent in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and provide goods & services to customers in exchange for other goods, services, or money. Businesses may also be not-for-profit or state-owned. A business owned by multiple individuals may be referred to as a company. The etymology of "business" stems from the idea of being busy, and implies socially valuable and rewarding work. Business can refer to a particular organization or, more generally, to an entiremarket sector; for example, "the music business". Compound forms such as agribusiness represent subsets of the word's broader meaning, which encompasses all activity by suppliers of goods and services.
In 1990 a group of Baha’is active in business and management met up in Chamonix, France, to discuss their concerns about the decline of ethics and values in the business world. The result of this meeting was the creation of the ‘European Baha’i Business Forum’ [EBBF], a non-profit association aimed at promoting the moral and spiritual wisdom and principles found in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and the great religious traditions of the world, such as the principles of justice, respect, trustworthiness, integrity and unity. For more on this group go to: http://bahaiblog.net/site/ For an extended overview of the subject of business go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies, including the internet, television, newspapers, and radio, which are used for mass communications, and to the organizations which control these technologies. Since the 1950s, in the countries that have reached a high level of industrialization, the mass media of cinema, radio and TV have had a key role in the exercise of political power in both the world of government and in industry, as well as business and commerce, as sectors of society. Mass media play a significant role in shaping public perceptions on a variety of important issues, both through the information that is dispensed through them, and through the interpretations they place upon this information. They also play a large role in shaping modern culture, by selecting and portraying a particular set of beliefs, values, and traditions, an entire way of life, as reality. That is, by portraying a certain interpretation of reality, they shape reality to be more in line with that interpretation. Contemporary research demonstrates an increasing level of concentration of media ownership, with many media industries are already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms. Also of more than a little significance is the role of advertising in the world of the mass media.
I found the following quotation in Victor J. Vitanza's article: “Abandoned to Writing: Notes Toward Several Provocations,” Enculturation, Vol.5, No.1, 2003. This article was of special interest to me as a writer who attempts to write about the media, industry and government among many other subjects. Vitanza draws on Maurice Blanchot(1907-2003), French writer, philosopher, and literary theorist. Blanchot wrote that 'to have a system, this is what is fatal for the mind; not to have one, this too is fatal. Whence the necessity to observe, while abandoning, the two requirements at once'. My website is an example, as much as it is possible, to both have and not have a system. What Karl Schlegel (1772-1834), German poet, critic and scholar, said of philosophy is true for writing: "you can only become a writer, you can never be one; no sooner are you a writer than you are no longer a writer." All of this website, since its inception in 1997, is testimony to my becoming a writer.
(iii) B. COMMERCE:
Commerce is the activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural and technological systems that are in operation in any country or internationally. Thus, commerce is a system or an environment that affects the business prospects of economies. It can also be defined as a component of business which includes all activities, functions and institutions involved in transferring goods from producers to consumers. Some commentators trace the origins of commerce to the start of communication in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other. Historian Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa150,000 years ago. For more go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce
WAR: THE LAST RESORT
The following two prose-poems deal with conflict in various ways. When an individual or a society can not sort out the problems in their personal lives or their countries by means of politics, violence and war often follow.
A Prose-Poem in Memory of Jameson Bond
On 5 June 1967 Israel attacked Egypt in what was later dubbed “The Six-Day War.” When a country can not resolve conflict through politics and government war is often the result. The industry that is brought into play is the military-industrial complex. For an excellent overview of this aspect of government and industry go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military-industrial_complex At the time, I was 22 and had just graduated from Windsor Teachers’ College with a qualification to teach in primary schools; I had also just started working at a summer job with the Motor Vehicle License Branch of the Department of Transport of Ontario in Brantford Canada. The other major event of my life in May 1967, in the month leading up to that “Six-Day War,” was my taking a train from Brantford to Toronto on Friday evenings after work and spending the weekends with the woman who had agreed, three months before, to be my wife, Judy Gower. Judy lived in Scarborough with her parents.
Six weeks after that “Six-Day War” I would be twenty-three; in ten weeks I would be married to Judy Gower; in eleven I would be living in Iqaluit on Baffin Island in Canada’s Northwest Territory as a homefront pioneer for the Canadian Baha’i community. In twenty weeks the “long-to-be-sustained campaign” of worldwide proclamation by the international Baha’i community on the world-wide stage “of the healing message that the Promised One has come” was launched.(1)
THE SIX-DAY WAR
On 5 June 1968, exactly one year after that “Six-Day War” and after teaching grade three for nine months(9/67-5/68) among the Inuit in Iqaluit NWT, I had just begun my personally undubbed “Six-Month War.” On 1 June 1968 I entered the first of a series of four psychiatric units and large psychiatric hospitals. This prose-poem explores the notion of the war-metaphor applied to my own life in these early years of my pioneering experience in that first Plan of the Universal House of Justice, 1964-1973. (2) --Ron Price with appreciation to (1)The Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, Wilmette, 1969, p.109 and (2) Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs: Unpublished Memoirs, 5 June 2007.
Mine was no decisive, quick and elegant victory,1
chewed up by nine months of a teaching novitiate
and by a body chemistry that had been chewing me
up for years. No armoured infantry, no brigades, tanks,
artillery, no operational changes in plans---just a stay at
your post until you drop, mate........Well....... I dropped.
I got myself into a hospital and, after six months,
was redeployed in another region for a counter-attack
against other forces mobilized in the south of the country
near my home where, with some reservists we flushed-out
a dozen or so new believers when the defensive infrastructure
was extremely poor against the effectiveness of that Eastern
Proc Team as it was called, at the time, and the two highly
specialized, local and experienced regiments.2
I had been trained extensively by one, Jameson Bond,
for rapid refitting of my spirit so that I could return from
sorties three or four times a day. But after many months
of attack-waves my body cracked and I went beyond my
use-by-date in that frozen Arctic littoral, a place to which
I did not return in the last forty years nor will I ever again.
Our forces in that Eastern District, largely in the persons
of Jameson and Gale Bond, had advanced slowly for years,
long before I arrived in ’67 with the call of the Kingdom,
part of a quite precise, coordinated plan of combined forces
over the entire Canadian Arctic. Breakthroughs had begun
to occur3 just as I had to leave that combat zone but, after six
months, engaged as I was in a war of recuperative-healing,
I entered another two zones for shock troops, zones which
kept me busy for the next three years in Prince Edward County,
Ontario and in Whyalla, South Australia and---little did I know
then what I know now that the battle for heavenly treasures4 at
what He called the threshold of oneness would require many
degrees of engagement and disengagement that always seemed
quite beyond my capacity to achieve---such was and is my battle
and, yes, it was and is our only real battle or war everyday.5
1 General Haim Bar Lev’s view when the 1967 crisis that precipitated the Six-Day War broke out. General Lev pressed the Israeli government to start the war as soon as possible.(Wikipedia, “Six-Day War,” p.11)
2 A teaching team in Ontario known as ‘The Eastern Proclamation Team,’ part of a national program organized and implemented by the then Eastern/Ontario Branch of the National Teaching Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, posters in shop-windows, the two local Bahá’ís, a rented room on the main street of Picton Ontario and-Bob’s Your Uncle....a dozen youth joined the Cause.
3 The first Inuit in the District of Franklin to become a Bahá’í was Josephee Teemotee on 29 May 1968.
4 ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, Wilmette, 1977(1928), p.87.
5 J. Cowper Powys, writes that “we need to approach each day as if going to war, as if giving ourselves up to intense engagement” in his book In Spite Of: A Philosophy for Everyman, Village Press, 1974(1953). ‘Abdu’l-Baha writes of “armies, conquerors, forces, fortifications, castles, right and left wings, inter alia in His Tablets of the Divine Plan(Wilmette, 1977. I have come to see these terms in The Tablets of the Divine Plan as an illustration of His ‘war metaphor,’ a concept introduced to me by Jameson Bond over the 16 months of association with him and his wife Gale in 1966 and 1967 in Windsor Ontario. This concept has added a tremendous dynamic to my life and I write this prose-poem in memory of Jameson Bond whose funeral was today. As Shoghi Effendi writes: “Ultimately all the battle of life is within the individual,” Living the Life: A Compilation, London, 1974, p.20.
5 June 2007
Bloody Sunday was an incident on 30 January 1972 in Derry Northern Ireland in which twenty-six unarmed civil rights protesters or bystanders were shot. I was just about to begin teaching high school in Whyalla South Australia. I was also in the last two years of my first marriage, little did I know at the time. I was 28 and had come to Australia as an international pioneer for the Canadian Baha'i community and as part of my young adult yearning for experience and adventure.
These protesters or bystanders were shot by soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment of the British Army during a march by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. Thirteen men, seven of whom were teenagers, died immediately or soon after. The report of the Saville Inquiry accepted by the British government and made public this week, found that all of those shot were unarmed, and that the killings were unjustified and unjustifiable. Five of those wounded were shot in the back.
The Saville Inquiry was established in January 1998 to look at the events of Bloody Sunday. This was one year before I retired from full-time work as a lecturer in Australia. In March 2000 when the Inquiry’s oral hearings commencd, I had taken a sea-change near the Bass Strait in northern Tasmania and had become a full-time writer and poet. The Inquiry’s findings made public just three days ago, a decade into my retirement. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, outlined the findings of the Saville inquiry. It was not his responsibility, he emphasized, to defend the indefensible. It was, he said, the fault of the "poor bloody infantry,” not the officers, not the politicians, not the government.
These findings could re-open the controversy, and potentially lead to criminal investigations for some soldiers involved in the killings. The IRA, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, had initiated a campaign against the partition of Ireland. This campaign had begun in the two years prior to Bloody Sunday, but public perceptions of the day boosted the status of, and recruitment into, the IRA enormously. Bloody Sunday remains among the most significant events in the troubles of Northern Ireland chiefly because the killings were carried out by the army and not paramilitaries in full view of the public and the press.
As I say above, I was just about to begin my first year teaching secondary school in Whyalla South Australia. Within two weeks of Bloody Sunday I had over 100 students in classes in my first year as a teacher in the dry-dog-biscuit of a land in northern South Australia. I was the secretary of the Baha’i community of Whyalla, a community which formed its first local spiritual assembly less than a dozen weeks later.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 18 June 2010.
Ireland is haunted by its history:
by seven centuries of conflict with
its neighbour across the sea; with
the trauma of a 19th century famine.
This difficult and tangled history
is part of an extrordinary cultural
flowering beginning in that same 19th
century when two god-men walked on Earth:
a silent revolution began which affected
the very stones which began to speak!!!
18 June 2010
CRITIQUE OF MASS CULTURE
Nathaniel West's critique of mass culture in his novel The Day of the Locust(1939), and a recent popular movie The Truman Show(1998) both exaggerate the problems of mass culture, and they both implicitly assume that some viable, utopian alternative exists. Sadly, the only alternative to consumerism that most critics envisage is an oppressive government that drastically limits personal freedom, telling people what they should desire. While it should be obvious that desire can be and is partly regulated, the impossibility of regulating all of human desire should be accepted as such. The claim of The Truman Show that a free market enables a repressive regime of corporate media power to accomplish such regulation is based on an assumption about, and an unjustified distortion of, media power. The products of consumer society are not always beautiful and elegant, but they help in the process of differentiating individuals and enabling the human community to continue.
Political stability and the survival of civilization depended on an effective autocracy. This truth was not accepted by the senatorial class in Rome until the reign of Trajan in the late first century AD. -Ronald Martin, Tacitus, Bristol Classical Press, 1994, London, p.242.
And as we head through the centre of
this great maelstrom of history
a Voice speaks to help us survive
by the skin of our teeth1.
It spoke, then, at the beginning of Empire2 ,
as It speaks now at the start of global Order,
in the midst of tempest,
in our darkest incoherence this ocean speaks,
winning its way into the hearts of people
who go about, quietly and obscurely,
to bring about a new Kingdom everywhere
as governments collapse, anarchy increases,
complexity bites into the acid tendrils
of the mind and individuals are easily overwhelmed
by incomprehensible mysteries and boredom.
Our days have long been troublesome,
as they were then in those early days of Empire
when He spoke; our great body has been invaded
by open violence and slow decay while a pure and
humble religion, yet again, insinuates itself into the
minds of men, lowly erects a place of honour on a
mountain square, its handiwork and wisdom to adore.
17 November 1996
1 Kenneth Clark, Civilization, Penguin, 1969, p.28.
2 The Roman Empire began in 31 BC with the emperor Octavian.
LAW:DEFINED AND DESCRIBED
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior. Laws are made by governments, specifically by their legislatures. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or unwritten, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics and society in countless ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people.
A general distinction can be made between civil law jurisdictions (including Canon and Socialist law), in which the legislature or other central body codifies and consolidates their laws, and common law systems (including Islamic law), where judge-made binding precedents are accepted. Historically, religious laws played a significant role even in settling of secular matters, which is still the case in some countries, particularly Islamic.
LAW: TEXT AND CONTEXT
J. L. Austin(1911-1960) was a British philosopher of language. He is remembered primarily as the developer of the theory of speech acts. Prior to Austin, the attention of linguistic and analytic philosophers had been directed almost exclusively to statements, assertions, and propositions — to linguistic acts that, at least in theory, have truth-value. This led to problems when analyzing certain types of statements, for example in determining the truth conditions for such statements as "I promise to do so-and-so." Austin suggested that there is good reason to look beyond text to context. Context is very important when you examine a statement or law. A statement made by Congress, under certain formal conditions, becomes a law. Context helps us interpret language, including the language of a statute. Purpose is often an important part of context. So Austin probably encourages me to put more weight on purpose. For more on Austin go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._L._Austin
INTERNATIONAL LAW AND SHARIAH LAW
In the electronic online journal entitled Cultural Studies Review volume 18 number 2, September 2012, pp.16-31, Ann Pellegrini wrote the following article: A Storm on the Horizon ’Discomforting Democracy and the Feeling of Fairness.' Pellegrini writes that: "In November 2010, voters in the state of Oklahoma overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that bans judges from ‘considering or using Shariah Law’ when making a ruling. Oklahoma International Law Amendment and, most apocalyptically, the ‘Save Our State’ Amendment. In addition to amending the state constitution to ban judicial consideration of Shariah law, the measure also more broadly forbids courts from ‘considering or using international law’. This coupling of Shariah law and international law requires some preliminary explanation and conceptual untangling.
When a state court can not consider or use international law, this reflects a broader conservative distrust of any citation of international law. The use of international law amounts to a violation of American sovereignty, so runs the argument. This hostility is seen even among some jurists themselves. For example, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been a very public critic of reference to foreign law in US courts. This hostility to international law is hardly some quirk of Justice Scalia, but can be seen also in the US Congress’s unwillingness to ratify any number of international treaties.
Moreover, such opposition cuts across simplistic partisan political distinctions and extends a long tradition of American exceptionalism, whose shadow gives cover to nativist suspicions of ‘foreigners’. A state amendment to ban a court’s consideration of foreign laws could probably survive constitutional scrutiny and be upheld by the courts. It is the singling out of a specific religion—Islam—that poses constitutional issues, as I will shortly argue. For more on this topic and this article go to:http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/csrj/article/view/2754/2944
LAW AND THE SPIRIT OF LIBERTY
In the 5 December 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books readers will find a book-review by Lincoln Caplan. Lincoln Caplan is a visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. With a B.A. and a J.D. from Harvard, Caplan has been a journalist with and contributor to, among others, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report. Caplan reviewed the 450 page book Reason and Imagination: The Selected Correspondence of Learned Hand: 1897–1961 edited by Constance Jordan, with a preface by Ronald Dworkin. Caplan begins: "The Manhattan courthouse of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was reopened this year after a long renovation. The chief judge returned to the main courtroom a bust of Learned Hand, the most venerated member in the court’s history. The imposing head and resolute face, bristling eyebrows and wide-set eyes make him look like a great judge, and he was.1 Hand served on the federal trial court for New York State’s Southern District for fifteen years beginning in 1909 and then on the federal appeals court for New York, Connecticut, and Vermont for thirty-seven years, for an astonishing, near-record total of fifty-two years. Today, although he died more than half a century ago in 1961, he remains a holy figure in America’s legal culture."
Caplan continues: "Yet few of even the most erudite judges or legal scholars today could say much about why he stood out as a judge. His words about “the spirit of liberty” are likely his best known. They are from a speech he gave in May 1944, when he was asked to address new citizens the day they pledged their allegiance to the United States. “The spirit of liberty,” he said, "is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded…."
"In Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge, Gerald Gunther’s superb yet surprisingly incomplete 1994 biography, the author italicized the words “the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.” They connect the judge’s spirit to the man’s lifelong disposition: he was relentlessly self-doubting—in his own view, he was “an outsider” and a “timid, puzzled” man. That didn’t keep him from being theatrically rude—by swiveling his chair and showing his back—to lawyers who appeared before him when he considered their arguments flimsy, or from appearing robust, fearless, and ebullient, as people who knew him well described him." For more go to:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/dec/05/judge-who-shaped-our-law/
CRIMINALITY AND CRIMNINOLOGY
The word criminology comes from the Latin word 'crīmen' meaning 'accusation'; and the Greek word 'logia' for 'word/speech'. It is the scientific study of the nature, extent, management, causes, control, consequences, and prevention of criminal behavior, both on the individual & social levels. Criminology is an interdisciplinary field in the behavioral sciences, drawing especially upon the research of sociologists, psychologists, scholars of law, psychiatrists, and social anthropologists. For more go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminology The field of criminology has several major schools of thought, or theories, which readers can examine in detail at this link. They include: 1.1 classical school, 1.2 positivist school, 1.2.1 Italian school, 1.2.2 sociological positivism, 1.3 Chicago school, and 1.4 social structure theories:
1.4.1 Social disorganization (neighborhoods)
1.4.2 Social ecology
1.4.3 Strain theory (social strain theory)
1.4.4 Subcultural theory
1.4.5 Control theories
Other schools of thought or theoretical approaches include: 1.5 symbolic interactionism, 1.5.1 labeling theory, and 1.6 individual theories:
1.6.1 Trait theories
1.6.2 Rational choice theory
1.6.3 Routine activity theory
Finally there are: 1.7 biosocial theories, and 1.8 Marxist criminology
In ordinary language, the term crime or criminality denotes an unlawful act punishable by a state. The term crime does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple & universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law, that is, something is a crime if applicable law says that it is. One proposed definition is that a crime, also called an offence or a criminal offence, is an act harmful not only to some individual, but also to the community or the state. In this last case it is a public wrong. Such acts are forbidden & punishable by law. For more of this general introduction to crime go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime
For a review in The New York Review of Books by David Cole on 4/12/'14 entitled "The Disgrace of Our Criminal Justice" go to this link: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/dec/04/disgrace The article reviews the following books: (i) Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson(Spiegel & Grau, 350 pages);(ii)The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes&Consequences edited by Jeremy Travis, Bruce Western, and Steve Redburn(National Academies Press, 450 pages); and (iii) Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America by Jonathan Simon(New Press, 200 pages)
Nathan Simon’s Mass Incarceration on Trial is yet another sign of the new optimism about criminal justice reform, but in this case, the optimism goes too far. Simon focuses on a decades-long litigation campaign challenging the inadequate provision of medical services to California state prisoners. Federal courts ruled in the late 1990s and early 2000s that California was failing to meet its constitutional obligations of care. After many years trying unsuccessfully to enforce a remedy, the courts concluded that the problem could not be resolved unless California reduced its overcrowding. At the time, its prisons held about double their capacity; the court ordered the state to reduce the population to 137.5 percent of capacity, a remedy that would require releasing or transferring some 40,000 prisoners in the absence of new prison construction. For more of this review go to: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/dec/04/disgrace-our-criminal-justice/?insrc=toc
Abnormality, or dysfunctional behavior, in the vivid sense of something deviating from the normal or differing from the typical (such as an aberration), is a subjectively defined behavioral characteristic, assigned to those with rare or dysfunctional conditions. Behavior is considered abnormal when it is atypical, out of the ordinary, causes some kind of impairment, or consists of undesirable behavior.  who is normal or abnormal is a contentious issue in abnormal psychology. For more on this subject go to the "Psychology Theories" section of this website at: http://www.ronpriceepoch.com/PSYCHOLOGY-Theories.html and to this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abnormality_%28behavior%29
Ronald Myles Dworkin(1931-2013) was an American philosopher and scholar of constitutional law. He was Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University and Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, and had taught previously at Yale Law School and the University of Oxford. An influential contributor to both philosophy of law and political philosophy, Dworkin received the 2007 Holberg International Memorial Prize in the Humanities for "his pioneering scholarly work" of "worldwide impact." According to a survey in The Journal of Legal Studies, Dworkin was the second most-cited American legal scholar of the twentieth century
Ronald Dworkin, who died some nine months ago on 14 February 2013 at the age of eighty-one, published over one hundred articles, reviews, and letters on legal and philosophical issues in The New York Review. His first article was from his 1968 defense of conscientious objectors to the draft during the Vietnam War, and his last was his 2012 argument against color-blind college admissions policies. Over more than four decades he took up some of the most important controversies in American public life, including affirmative action, abortion, assisted suicide, pornography, health care, civil liberties and the war on terror, and what he called the “embarrassingly bad decisions” of the Supreme Court’s “right-wing phalanx.” Throughout his career he worked to elaborate what he called “the moral reading of the Constitution”: the idea that “we all—judges, lawyers, citizens—interpret and apply its abstract clauses on the understanding that they invoke moral principles about political decency and justice." For more go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Dworkin
John Bordley Rawls(1921-2002) was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University and the Fulbright Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford. Rawls received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, in recognition of how Rawls' work "helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith indemocracy itself."
A cruel, silly but not entirely inaccurate way of defining Rawls' A Theory of Justice, the central work in his philosophy, is to call it the greatest book nobody has ever read. Since it was first published in 1971 the book has had an enormous influence throughout the West and in most of the East that aspires to democracy, but it is hard even to quote from, let alone summarise. Most students of modern history know that Rawls invented 'The Difference Principle' but few of them would find it easy to explain. With his emphasis on fair distribution through state initiatives, Rawls’s initial appeal is mainly to the left, but left-wing thinkers usually do a bad job of summing him up because they find his acceptance of capitalism reactionary and his tolerance of social discrepancies unpalatable. One way of encapsulating The Difference Principle, indeed, would be to say that any discrepancy is tolerable unless it brings disadvantage to the worst off. Trying to get an explication of Rawls into a short book, his commentators sometimes manage to be even more difficult than their subject: Thomas Pogge’s John Rawls is an example. But on an even shorter scale, and much more approachable, there is an excellent article emanating from further to the right. For more on Rawls go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rawls Clive James has a humorous introduction to Rawls at: http://www.clivejames.com/prose-finds/john-rawls/david-gordon