Self-Actualization under Capitalism LO14132

Sherri Malouf (
Mon, 30 Jun 1997 12:30:23 +0100

Replying to LO14055 --

Ray --

Okay -- you've got me going with this one -- I want to understand what you
are saying so hang with me and my questions! For others -- I have pretty
much copied all of Ray's message because I found it hard to understand --
so this is a long post.

>I agree that American Corporations are driven by profit at any cost
>however, there are a couple of new twists.

Let's see if I have correctly identified the twists.

>In the past the "Golden Era"
>myth, that Ronald Reagan (and William Bennett) applied to the free
>market (a version of the Rousseau "Noble Savage" version of the 15th
>century Italian myth about the Greek "Golden Age"), was not an ideal in
>American society. This free market application was not a part of the
>cycle of business in the late 19th and pre-depression 20th century.

So are you saying that when loking at the economic history of capitalism,
this Golden Era economic thinking pushed by RR, was not a part of the
picture? Nor was it an ideal in the US until RR pushed it? BTW, my BSc
is in Economics and Law done in England. My MPhil research was conducted
in Rowntree Mackintosh -- an old and patriarchal company where people were
very well treated.

>My co-author, economist historian Mike Hollinshead, turned me on to
>George Orwell=92s "Down and Out in London and Paris" when Orwell faked
>being down and out to find out what it was truly like. First of all the
>free market wasn't free here or any place else. Second, the poor houses
>where the former factory workers and individual craftsmen found
>themselves were no more "Houses of Instruction" than Blake=92s horses.
>They were places where people went to die. Warehouses for society's
>human "sacrifices." (Note that Bennett was one of the complainers about
>the new history standards due to the inclusion of the Aztecs who
>practiced human sacrifice) They also served as "instruction" for the
>masses, "see what will happen to you if you slack off!"..That RR "Golden
>era of Laissez faire" is just bad history.

So a lot of people suffered at the hands of the early capitalists but this
was not the picture RR painted when looking for historical support for his
l'aissez faire economics?

>We might ascribe that story found in more than one basic economics' text
>as being myth in the "teaching story" sense rather than actual history.
>And we must also remember that these exaggerations are often found in
>baby religions lest we lose our "empirical objectivity."

So one twist is the fact that RR rewote economic history to support
economic policy?

>RR & WB's "Golden Era" was found only in tinseltown. Hollywood
>benefited mightily from both the depression (when people buried their
>misery in cheap entertainment..entertainment historian Russell Lynes
>called it the "so called depression") and World War II when Hollywood
>fortunes were made with fake soldiers flying fake missions to defeat the
>"yellow peril" (which returned to the "dirty redskins" once the war was

You feel that hoolywood benefited from RR but the American public was
miserable? So the enemy outside was used as a distraction?

>It mattered not that the propaganda was so thorough that all Japanese
>Americans were robbed of their property and thrown in prison. Recently
>they received an apology. Can you imagine what would happen if someone
>suggested the same solution to America as is being suggested to the
>Swiss for the return of Jewish property confiscated by Germany and
>stored in Swiss banks?

I don't really know -- it really depends on who you talk to. I would say
give it to 'em but I may be a bit of an anomaly...

>My point is that this was the only "Golden Era"
>that slightly resembles what RR, WB and the other "free market"
>described and it was more "guilt" than gold even if it was necessary as
>a propaganda machine(and I believe that it was, but that is another

SO the tie in is that American business has the attitude it has about
profit at any cost because of weak attempts by RR to sell the Golden Era.
BTW, I lived in England throughout the Reagan administration but had to
live under the equivalent policies of Thatcher.

>The ideal of irresponsible corporate profit and the sacrifice of "ten
>workers every morning at sunrise" to guarantee the continuation of that
>Profit is founded in that myth of the Laissez faire Golden Era( the same
>people who used to sing "let it be" in the 1960s?). But although the
>paradise never happened there was a great deal of public building and
>charitable giving while the Robber Baron=92s media was preaching total
>annihilation of the American Indian.

Okay -- you lost me here. Hasn't there been a non-stop attempt at the
annihilation of the American Indian? Are you saying this was pushed
further in the 80's or are you referring back to the roots of capitalism?

>How is it that the NYPhilharmonic
>and the Boston Symphony were totally funded by a small group of
>individual philanthropists during this less than noble era(In the
>Boston case it was a single individual)? As an answer I would propose a
>different story founded on the idea of cycles which was another thing
>that RR (I don't know WB's opinion on business cycles) didn't believe
>The normal business cycle has four phases. Just as there are four parts
>to the day, four seasons, four quadrants of the compass etc. This is a
>primal formula found all over the world almost as commonly as standing
>upright which also has four on the horizontal, front, back, left and

I am familiar with this.

>The business cycle break up, as you know, is EXPANSION, during which
>business activity is successively reaching new high points; LEVELING
>OUT, during which business activity reaches a high point and remains at
>that level for a short period of time; CONTRACTION, during which
>business volume recedes from the peak level for a sustained period until
>the bottom is reached; & RECOVERY, during which business activity
>resumes after the low point has been reached and continues to rise to
>the previous high mark.
>May I suggest another version of this cycle, growth -> maturity -> old
>age -> renewal or birth. We may make thousands of versions of this
>"cycle of time." We Cherokees call this the Four Directions and use
>it as a mandala to discover the meaning of our lives and deaths(I call
>"getting back to basics"). Since the East is childhood, commerce begins
>in the South, negotiation with wisdom and maturity in the West, and the
>spirituality of death and contraction in the North, the circle is
>renewed in birth in the East we might even say "recovered."

I am with you.

>In all societies that base their reality on Time there is a direction, a
>Time, when the successful "give-back" as an ideal. Because there is only
>Alzheimer's at the end, both honor and humility requires that there be a
>"give-back" or their lives which are carried in the society's memory
>will be truly "killed", i.e. forgotten. In an unforgettable passage
>the Christian apostle Paul said "though I speak with the tongues of men
>and of angels and have not charity, I am as a tinkling cymbal and a
>sounding brass." My people would say it more simply in English. We
>would say that the "two legged" who understands the "give-back" has
>become a "human being."

I have always loved the concept(my background) of the give-back (your

>In the economic term of "Positive External Values" we would call this a
>"bequest/existence value" meaning the value to future generations would
>guarantee the continued existence of, e.g., Andrew Carnegie. So what
>this means is that the ideal of the earlier "Robber Barons" was to walk
>the circle and to end at philanthropy, thus giving meaning to their walk
>and resolving any prior problems with how they had lived their lives.
>One might also call it a "salvation value" benefit.

Does this mean that to the Cherokee as long as the give-back occurs then
there is no such thing as karma? An aside from the topic I know...

>This "salvation value" is something that Maslow spoke of as he got to
>the end of his life as well. His hierarchy, less than an "order" in
>time, became a schematic for the ideal that existed, as a gestalt in the
>moment, if the conscious organism was complete. One might say that he
>finally escaped the need for "Positivism" in the North.

The work of Mclelland basically speaks of primary motivations. The way to
think about primary motivations is to think of a faucet being wide open
and running. With primary motivations the faucet is running all of the
time. Other motivations are triggered by external events. For example,
if affiliation is not a primary motivation and you are going to see a
family member (whom you love) you will have the affiliation motivation
faucet opened by the event. So perhaps Maslow realized that development
was non-linear -- or perhaps he talked to McClelland...

>Today the new "Robber Barons" are not individuals but corporations
>which, if I remember right, are treated as individuals under the law.
>They are really mini-governments with loyalty only to their propertied
>electorate. To expect that they would follow such an ideal or need
>salvation is as silly as believing that the Japanese and Germans owe us
>anything for the help we gave them after the war. It was just good
>business to do so when the Communists were our chief competitor.
>In corporations, as in all governments, the only value is "profit" in
>present. Corporations, unlike countries and more like nomads, don't
>need being remembered as great benefactors and (also like nomads) desire
>salvation only in terms of their own electorate(not their rented help,
>neither hired hand nor overseer). The only thing communities external
>the corporate "camp" can do is make them see that external philanthropy
>is in their immediate self-interest. Unfortunately that is getting more
>and more difficult as they diversify around the world. Remember that
>greatest of all Government/corporations, the British Empire with the
>help from the Americans, made one out of every ten Chinese an opium
>addict in order to get tea and stimulate trade. (Is it any wonder that
>the people in Hong Kong are worried? I would leave in case the Chinese
>have the same thoughts that the Italians had about Fascism after the

My take is that the worried people left Hong Kong years ago -- I lived in
the UK when the agreement was originally negotiated -- a lot of people
either left then or made arrangements to leave. My understanding is that
those who are left now are nervously excited... Again -- I realize this
is off your main point.

>Since corporations are individual governmental type systems,
>their actions are pretty autocratic as well as amoral within the limits
>of their host country=92s legal system and the economics of production.

So again -- profit is the driver for corporate entities...

>We might say that the corporate culture has arrived at the perfect
>system for their benefit. Maslow would probably have described it in
>psychological terms. Individuals, who carry this system, are called
>psychopaths in the literature. i.e. "A person with an antisocial
>personality disorder, especially manifested in amoral or (even) criminal
>behavior." Am Her. 3rd 1993.

I would say that our system has set-up what we are experiencing. I trully
believe that senior management work for the stock market first and
foremost. Middle management must turn their desires into products, and
then we have the worker bees. This is a system thing which Americans have
been trained in for years. Again -- our culture supports a lot of options
for making decisions and taking action.

>Today it absolves the individual of the judgment of history by absorbing
>his/her responsibility for their venality. What was a sin has become,
>in the context of this new Messianic corporate function, a blessing.
>The priests of this realm call amoral venality "creative greed" and
>speak the rhetoric of pedagogy as they describe the benefits of growth
>and advancement to the people that they are sacrificing each day. I
>personally feel guilty if I am forced to fund I.G. Farbin's Bayer
>division (with the four direction symbol on the bottle) because one
>aspirin a day is good for my heart. Only politicians and soldiers are
>eligible for monsterhood. Companies occupy a blessed place in this
>Heaven on earth. Can you imagine anyone firing a corporate CEO for

It is interesting that the military is doing just that -- on a daily basis.

>In the midst of all of this, let it be noted that I too have the blessed
>Inc. at the end of my company name.

So Ray -- are you spelling doom and gloom because of the dominant business
practice in the USA? Hey -- do you think US corporations know how to
survive a stock market crash? How about the rest of the world? Do you
know how to survive a US stock market crash?

Sherri Tel:603-672-0355
LMA, Inc Fax:603-673-7120


Sherri Malouf <>

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