Monday, May 26, 2008

exiles at home

how many times did you wake up to find someone beside you, whom you wanted to awaken, too?

it is easy to live solitude, hard to know it. and when silence becomes a shout, it is because it could not whisper to you, or because you could not hear it when it did!

i and my generation are the losers in a war we were never old enough to fight. most of our lives was spent in preparation for it; yet, just when we were about ready, we had to explain to ourselves, why we ought to fight it, why war should be the way to the ends we were taught were universally ours.

we either religiously took to the old teachings; or as religiously rejected them and more religiously sought new ones. the most confused amongst us, we made disbelief our cause. we diebelieved so piously, we evaporated existentially; so that it may not be fair to speak of us with the pronoun we or they.

we lost.

ours was a generation audacious enough to question all values taken for granted - and sometimes, even to re-define them, which needed far more courage. we turned love into an experience instead of an utopia or lust. "democracy" finds a meaning now, because young women were burning their bras in the late 60s. freedom became a palpable word because it was a title in jimi hendrix's first posthumous album. even when our motives were not always honest and pure, we honestly chased the truth. we wanted to know. we re-wrote the rules of knowledge.

why, then, though we seemed to be so right, did we lose? maybe, because we questioned, also, the meaning(s) and the value of winning? how many success stories between 50 and 60 today are really proud of whom they have turned out to be, in comparison to whom they hoped to become? how many of this generation recognize anything in today's world, of the world they once thought possible?

we lost, not because we went wrong, took the wrong turn, twist, road, fall, whatever into the world we denied. we lost because at that point, our loss felt certain. it was the only certainty that hit us and facing certainty, we stopped doubting denying. we stopped asking questions and the wind dropped out of our kites. one by one, we started to accept; so that gradually, each of us caved in (*).

that makes us the only generation in modern history, left with nothing to truly believe in. that is why too many fanatics, in every walk from politics, to business, to religion emerged from "our" ranks: because action is the fool's way of convincing himself what he is doing is right!

exiles at home! wherever we are, we are home... but home is nowhere!

if one believes in fighting, one need not believe in what he fights for. we fought without that belief. we were probably the only generation that saw the futility in fighting for fighting's sake.

we believed in peace... but without the ability to find a novel way to learn and teach it. in our ignorance, we made the fatal mistake. we took to the ways we had already diagnosed as wrong at the beginning: fighting and preaching, thus shoving truths down ours and everyone's throats.

the victors always take something of the vanquished. i do not know who the victors were in our case. our war was, at least we believed, for everyone. so, when we lost, our opponents did, too. i think, instead of taking something from us, whomever vanquished us left something with us: their fight, against which we had waged our war.

(*) i still remember the day i first heard pink floyd's dark side of the moon (1973), their greatest chart success and the feeling of betrayal that pervaded all my senses. every note and nuance was full of answers instead of questions. it was as if one moon i sailed by had really turned all and forever dark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

reading a global coffee cup

i keep writing (and preaching in classes) that in modern capitalism, oil is but another commodity; but an input in the production process. production without consumption is not only no profit, it is simply loss, so prices of products/commodities have to be regulated by the market, not on a government table.

oil wars are (and can be) waged only and only if the cost of war, blended with the cost of oil that is procured by means of that war is not prohibitive for the functioning of the cycle of production-consumption -profit-reproduction. in proper capitalism, the only indispensability is profit that preferably occurs in the far more controllable and predictable ambiance of freedoms and competition. therefore, no component of the whole production-consumption-profit-reproduction cycle, financing, raw materials etc., even oil can be allowed to take hostage the whole process. according to many authors, though, oil, especially when used as a political leverage by otherwise politically ineffectual world players, tends to upset economic balances.
a) oil needs to be replaced by other forms of energy. major oil companies and energy giants are already investing billions of dollars on alternative sources that are replenishable and also environmentally sound. a breakthrough is imminent (*).
b) the bulk of oil revenues from petroleum exporting countries are either politically squandered (mostly, if the government is anti-western and anti-u.s.) or invested in western businesses by oil sheikhs etc. this means that a drop in the popular consumption of oil is far more of an economical risk for producers than its prices falling. you cannot fetch a price for something that is virtually worthless.
c) by the same token, too expensive oil also means too expensive everything. it means people will simply consume less of everything and the whole global economic scheme will simply shrink, along with profits. in that case, those with only oil to sell, will suffer far more losses than the rest as they will have more need and less money for things that make their world go round.
c) in the shorter run (j. maynard keynes said "in the long run, we're all dead", anyway), panic boosts in per barrel prices of oil, are not impossible. many industries and economies are going to be affected and perhaps sink as a result. however, just like in practice, the recent mortgage crisis mainly helped weed out the uncompetitive, unyieldy volume of credits in the global (especially american) market, possible per-barrel-crises too, will eventually strengthen the structure of capitalist world economy; and subjugate the technologically less advanced and backward raw-material-vendors. countries and societies that tend to act like badly managed business enterprises and those who fail to manage the transition to competitiveness, will end up poorer or bankrupt. if they are oil exporters only, they will have even less of a control over their global fate.
d) those fallen powers will produce the rogue states of tomorrow.
this is a short read from the globe's coffee cup. for now though, stains do not waft the sweet smell of fresh coffee but the rank odor of crude.
(*) i find no reason to succumb to the conspiracy theory that feasible alternatives are already developed but kept secret because economies are too geared to fossil fuel consumption. the world's primary energy is electric and it can be produced from many alternative sources without disrupting the petrol based industries though cutting oil prices down to logical levels.

china miracle and capitalism's levels of survival

i never got to write much here about china, except hint occasionally that i do not succumb to the view that we are witnessing a chinese miracle. as a matter of fact, the official slave industry that is china, has already begun suffering from monkey wrenches breaking its basically foreign installed and managed economic machinery: labor intense production is not efficient and costs are rising as bankruptcies mount. manifacture is escaping town, to even more backward alleys as vietnam, maybe now after the deluge, to myanmar which the brits still call bhurma! (*)

that is capitalism for you... dickensian labor exploitiation of the 19th century turned slant-eye in the 21st... only to the limit it cannot be permitted any more to disrupt the overall (global, if you like) balance of the entire market by sapping free enterprise and competition. yes, capitalism thrives also on all the freedoms that make it function, all of which china lacks.

it is those freedoms that regulate the end-profit margins in the market. no jobless european or american is interested in buying cheap asian goods, not because of any philosophical or national or racil cause but simply because economics dictates that a jobless man cannot afford to buy too many things. therefore, like water in different elevations, capitalism seeks its own levels of survival.

(*) hurray for the brits! i hate this postmodernist pseudo-anticolonialist, quasi- postcolonialist maneouver of changing country names to pretend "identity" and independence. all ex-colonies today are even more dependent on former conquerors, plus, almost all have also to kowtow to the u.s. on top of former sahibs. change of name is too facile for a change of fate, as minds and technics of ex-colonies are still dominated by rules of slavery. ditto, i also hate the campaign to change turkey's official international name to türkiye, for the reason that it reflects a colony mentality. it is also rude and impolite: the excuse for the proposed switch is that turkey is the english name of a bird and therefore, insulting to turks. the same bird, is called hindi in turkish, which means "indian"! yet, i fail to come accross any campaign in turkey to change its name to anything from hindi, which indians may equally percieve as debasing. typical to the colony mentality, neither such eymological knowledge, nor such sensitivity is expressed by the extremely touchy türkiye campaigners.

about comments

i mostly publish any "sensible" comments that arrive to the blog. since deciding what is sensible inevitably involves some sort of censorship, i try to be as "tolerant" as possible. however, many of the recent ones i rejected were either pure gibberish, promising salvation when marduk hits the world, or had more expletives in them than explanation, or were simply "commercially" motivated.

i hesitated over whether i should publish or reject the comment from modern sanat ortamı declaring hillary as a horny mad dog and obama as a puppet with a cat's paw. i let it run...

i let it run because the comment reflects the parochial, introverted, potentially xenophobic and negationist philosophy typical of a) ex-leftists in underdeveloped societies; b) ex-misfits who now misfit their role as misfits.

there is a world out there that we once wanted to change and if at all, we could only do so fractionally. maybe we were wrong, maybe the people in the world we wanted to change who did not want the change were right.

whatever, people did not want change. people do not want change now either.

it simply means that whomever set off to change (at least some part of) the world have failed to offer a realistic possibility that a) they could or can; and b) the resultant world would or will be better.

therefore, cursing hillary or hussein will not make a difference.


metin commented that both democrat and republican candidates were from the legislative, with little executive accomplishment to their names. he is right...

he is right and that is why i supported hillary, because unofficially, she has been part of the executive in both arkansas and the white house as first lady. you do not even have to be (or have been) married to understand how a clever and ambitious woman can grasp and influence her man's occupation. and hillary is both clever and ambitious enough to garner some know how from bill's terms in office, which hussein lacks.

it may still be a close call but unless america is going mad, this will be a democrats' election - although senator mccain is certainly an improvement over dubya (no big deal, almost anybody would be).

we have an airborne spaceship that has run amok called the world, all we need is a minimally talented captain to land her back down on a tolerable course. i, personally at least, have no miraces left to expect.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

there is a time to give up

there is a time to give up... not to quit but to realize and admit enough is enough. it is now time for hillary to concede that she has lost the primaries to barack hussein and negotiate the possibilities of hitting the ballot box together, this time, she as candidate vice president.

the race went on as i expected, with almost every state that is linked to the world booting for hillary, while those americans who think detroit is still the center of the universe, supported hussein. it still remains a fact that, despite all his charm and persuasive campaigning at home, generally speaking, hussein is no less ignorant than dubya in conceptualizing, diagnozing and visualizing solutions to global affairs.

if it were at all possible to revert america to the yesteryears of isolationism, barrack hussein obama might have become a really good president. in today's world, obama is only as competitive as gaz guzzling chevrolet of the 50s, weighing three tons!

that is why hillary has to back down before all bridges between the rivals are cast off. from this point on, she has a responsibility to the entire world in cleaning as best the mess the u.s. has created under dubya, as it is a huge gamble to bet on hussein's capacity to manage such a gargantuan task. since hillary cannot become president, she has to play second fiddle to a president who may win the hearts of grass roots americans to all his liking while has few tricks to stimulate the minds of a weary world awaiting and hoping for at least what bill clinton once had to offer. the world is hardly concerned with what he did in the oral office, it has been suffering from clumsier versions thanks to bush's political performance in the last eight years.