Don’t Let The Good Be The Enemy Of The Goods

The customer is always wrong…

 

The following appeared in an article in the Indepenent:

German supermarket empties shelves of foreign-made goods to make a point about racism Will Worley Thursday 24 August 2017

 

A German supermarket has emptied its shelves in an effort to make a point about racism and diversity. The Edeka store in Hamburg removed foreign-made products from its stock, replacing them with sign bearing anti-xenophobia slogans. It is believed the move will be followed be a larger campaign from Edeka, the largest supermarket chain in Germany. Surprised shoppers entered the store to find that much of the normal selection was gone, demonstrating how reliant they are on other countries for everyday products. Instead, they were greeted with signs saying: “This shelf is pretty boring without diversity.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/edeka-german-supermarket-empty-shelves-racism-diversity-largest-chain-a7908551.html

Just to make it clear if the article itself is not obvious enough: This shop in Germany no longer sells capitalist ‘goods’ as we have understood them. In fact it has removed ‘goods’ from it’s shelves in order that we might more clearly see what it is actually selling; that we might more clearly see what it’s shelves are now actually stacked with.

This shop has stacked it’s shelves with, and is now selling Good, (as opposed to ‘goods’).

And since it is actually selling Good as opposed to ‘goods’ it follows that the accounting conventions that have previously applied to the sale of ‘goods’ (such as selling at a profit) no longer apply. It follows from this that the objective of this enterprise is no longer that patrons leave the premises satisfied to a greater or lesser extent with the purchases they have made, but rather that they should leave the premises suitably EDUCATED or IMPROVED.

In this particular instance achieving this objective will take the form of the customer leaving WITHOUT the ‘goods’ they entered the premises for, but WITH a clear sense of having been educated and/or improved. In fact, customers are educated and improved precisely to the extent that they leave without the ‘goods’ they envisioned purchasing. Presumably the idea is that they return home and spend the time they would have spent consuming the goods they had obtained, contemplating the benefits of DIVERSITY.

Of course the business not only forgoes the profit that would have come from this day’s trading but also undergoes the additional expense and inconvenience of restocking the shelves after having to de-stock the shelves and store all the produce somewhere while making the point they are making..

And presumably should one or more patrons choose to object to the process and subsequently decide to shop somewhere else, well the loss of revenue is apparently acceptable to this business. Because if customers don’t want to be educated and improved about the benefits of diversity and other things while shopping, then frankly we would rather do without their custom.

After contemplating the picture above for a while, a comparison with the shelves of the Cold War Eastern Bloc and assorted command economies rises to the mind. We were assured repeatedly that it was the abundant provision of consumer goods that proved the superiority of the capitalist model over the command model and resulted in the end of the Cold War.

And yet somehow here we are seeing those self same scantily stocked shelves making an appearance in the supposedly victorious west. And the fact that these shelves are empty is a matter of conscious decision, not any failure in management. What gives?

The fact is that everybody is more or less sick of consumerism, which is another word for capitalist manufactured crap. From cheap nasty food high in sugar and fat, to an endless myriad of plastic novelties manufactured by slave labour in the Far East, it has become impossible to avoid the simple observation that 99.9% of everything created by capitalism is useless crap. And that other 0.1%? That’s the stuff you can’t afford…. so what’s new?

Well, what’s new is that now even the capitalists themselves are starting to get sick of it. They just can’t find a reason to get themselves out of bed and drag themselves into work in the morning anymore. Except..maybe, if they could use capitalism as a vehicle to propagate a message.

Seriously.

Advertising used to be creating ideas to sell you stuff. From now on it’s going to be creating stuff to sell you ideas..

Yet more proof that free market capitalism is well and truly dead.

Oh, and pick me up a pint of diversity on your way back from town will you?

 

 

 

 

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Unscrambled Eggs 3 Or All The Kings Men Or A Stitch In Time Or You Can’t Make.. Or Asteroid! Or The Real Crackernomics

 

 

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In the first part of this series I briefly outlined how the Germanic cult of Capitalism redefined the relationship between the person and the state. Fundamentally this redefinition meant that the sole valid legal and moral relationship an individual could have to society would be to the nation state and not local community or supra national church. This was effectively nothing less than the legal abolition of voluntary community in NW Eurasia.  Capitalism is defined in large part by the fact that no-one, outside of a tiny elite, is allowed to decide who they live with and under what rules. This is Germanic Land Democracy;  the elite forms a Land Republic the rest are the land slaves.

 

In tandem and in consequence to this legal putsch the economic needs of capitalism incrementally developed an unstable and mobile workforce.  Communities that had lost their link to the land, their independence, would be forced to go wherever the work was, even to the extent of destroying inter generational family structures. Family, by ideological necessity, was ordained as evil. ‘Workers’ were elevated by capitalism  to a position where they did not even have access to water to drink unless provided by the emergent nation state.

 

The newly ordained priests of Protestant Capitalism preached that this EXTREME state of affairs could only be negotiated through the ‘Free Market’, which was of necessity magical in the extent of the powers it would have to overcome these problems. But effectively this was accepting and then promoting an unending state of PERMANENT CRISIS, something that Marx intuitively understood. Capitalism IS a state of permanent crisis- this is the single most important insight you can have into it’s political structures. Capitalist democracy is effectively a never ending series of emergency meetings-  of chaotic shouting and gesturing taking place in stock markets and bond sales as well as in the seat of government.

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Let’s party!

The new workforce was unstable and mobile; given identity by theoretically owning collectively a geographic area- the nation state- but not allowed to actually own any of that very thing that gave their existence meaning! As a consequence Germanic culture spawned the modern political party  as a Frankenstein’s monster of geographic representation and ‘ economic’ necessity stitched together; constantly torn between its supposed constitutional identity and the reality of the system it represents. Nowhere is this clearer that in the case of economic nationalism. To protect the national economy it is necessary to deny the ‘Free Market’ and international trade! The two foundational concepts of capitalism are fundamentally opposed to each other. Managing this running sore at the heart of Germanic life is the basis for modern Germanic politics and economics.

 

Subject to inevitable periodic disruption, the system staggered on, until as a result of the financial crisis,  the free market suffered virtually total ideological collapse in the west in 2007.  Once the belief in the Free Market as a negotiating mechanism was gone there was no agreed ongoing way to negotiate the state of emergency that I describe above. It has now become an immediate and pressing feature of day to day existence in the Germanic capitalist world. This explains the dynamic that powers all politics and economics in this 21st century; a state of permanent visible crisis that has no agreed mechanism for negotiating a solution.

 

I must underline this central point. The market and capitalist democracy are often described as being supposedly somehow self replicating and self regulating (these are some of the magical qualities ascribed to the Market). And this perspective seems to be valid from the point of view of market cultists. But the reason that the Market reappears and reproduces itself  is exactly and only because the crises that give rise to it are continually replicating and reproducing!!

 

Naomi Klein had a fantastic insight into this process in The Shock Doctrine, in which she described some of the largest and most extreme manifestations of this phenomenon. But Klein failed to understand that the crisis has always been permanent and ongoing every second that capitalism exists. In capitalism every meeting is an emergency meeting. This is the spirit of the age. The critique that capitalism offers of socialism is that it is incapable of creating a crisis management system as effective as capitalism. The criticism of capitalism that socialism offers is that capitalism is incapable of creating an effective crisis management system.

 

Marx understood that the Germanic cult of capitalism was a permanent state of emergency. He also understood that should the sense of forward momentum of capitalism be dulled or even stalled that Capitalism would CEASE TO EXIST in people’s minds in that millisecond. That is the fundamental importance of the cult of ‘Progress’ that obsesses both Germanic left and right. Marx formulated the observation that in the absence of progress:

 

 “A development of the productive forces is the absolutely necessary ….because without it want is generalized, and with want the struggle for necessities begins again, and that means that all the old crap must revive.”

 

The management of capitalism is only considered valid to the extent that it can be shown to be progressing in managing and solving the day to day problems thrown up by the inherent crisis of capitalism itself. The moment this is shown not to be the case, capitalism has an election and puts in a new management team. When there are no viable capitalist management teams available, there is a socialist revolution, which is effectively an outside team of management consultants being drafted in. In detail, the process can be described as:

 

Unless the all encompassing illusion of progress can be maintained , the appearance of socialism reverts to the appearance of capitalism and the appearance of capitalism reverts to the appearance of feudalism. The reversion of the appearance of capitalism to the appearance of feudalism is what we can observe all around us.

 

Think about it and you will understand that under these circumstances the possibility, the promise of stability, either real or illusory, simply cannot exist.

 

So the 24/7 round the clock emergency repair system of the market has broken down and the appearance of feudalism has re-emerged in the west. Great!- Let’s Go Feudal! But we can’t go back to the pre-capitalist system because the link between culture, community and place has been permanently and irrevocably mutilated. Just like a scrambled egg whose yolk and white have been amalgamated there is no way back for the Humpty Dumpty of free market capitalism. And this understanding finally brings us to the meaning and significance of cultural constituencies

 

I initially pointed out that the nation state took over responsibility for morality from Church and Community; a duty to society that would from now on be discharged by the offices of the free market which would decide who would get what, where and when. But now that the market has been shown to fail the question for the populations of NW Eurasia is how to take the responsibility for morality back from the nation state..If you doubt this, you have only to look at the self appointed refugee rescue NGO’s operating in the Mediterranean Sea that have effectively privatised the process of immigration from the third world.

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Big Bang

We can describe the problem  of reconstituting morality in this way. A massive asteroid  hits the earth at Chicxulub  68 million years ago and throws millions of tons of  debris high into the air. Over a period of subsequent decades that debris falls to earth, but not just in the place it came from but all over the earth’s surface. The entire globe now has a thin layer of dust that came from one just one place in Eastern Mexico. So the same with the human debris of capitalism. And  instead of one meteorite there is a continuous stream of impacts every hour of every day. So people are exploded up from where they originated into the atmosphere and then land down all over the globe in a variety of stratified layers that are analogous to the ‘classes’ that are said to compose modern society.

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The class system..

 

But morality is the link between culture, community and place and it has been permanently and irrevocably mutilated.  So a modern cultural constituency is a cross section of stratified layers trying to act as though it were a cohesive regional community. It is a plate of scrambled eggs trying to remember what it was like to be six eggs in a box…