A couple of days ago, on Disqus, I had an exchange with the author of an article on China-USA relations, and a subsequent, disingenuous moderation of one of my comments, by that author. The article, is here –
“The Coming War on China: A Review of John Pilger’s Latest Documentary”| Foreign Policy Journal
My first comment, was the following:
Irrelevant Noises about Free-Market Economy 00
Eric Li, the Chinese entrepreneur, was distinguishing between the forces of capitalism, exemplified by the billionaire class, and the forces of state, exemplified as political authority.
Your presumption that for government to be above capital only leaves the role of directing markets, assumes market totalitarianism, that there is nothing else but the market! In which case, governments and states are entirely unnecessary, let the market do whatever it likes. The state form is redundant. Let people and corporations go wherever they want, according to market needs. Your assumption is based on such market mysticism.
The state form of any alleged democracy, is supposed to represent all interests, not just market interests. This is something you seem not to understand, somewhat understandably given the extent of market penetration into all areas of US social life, but not so excusable in an author writing in what is presumably offering itself as a knowledgeable journal of foreign affairs.
Your objections to earlier commenters are shallow, showing little understanding of the theoretical issues at play.
Given that, on every issue, American senators vote in accord with the billionaire class, US polity effectively functions as an exclusive representative of that billionaire class. Therefore, the US economy is a centrally planned economy, designed according to the interests of the billionaire class. Therefore, what you are citing as crony capitalism, is centrally planned economy, by crony billionaires.
The point that neither US nor Chinese economies are actually free-market economies is a trivial observation, everyone knows that, hence the earlier comments. However, whereas the Chinese government is straightforwardly honest about its market policies, it’s only the USA which makes such irrelevant noises about free-market economy, just as you’re doing, in your article and comment responses.
To which the authors response, was this –
JR Hammond Response
Irrelevant Noises about Free-Market Economy 01
My response, was the following:
“The point that neither US nor Chinese economies are actually free-market economies is a trivial observation, everyone knows that, hence the earlier comments. However, whereas the Chinese government is straightforwardly honest about its market policies, it’s only the USA which makes such irrelevant noises about free-market economy, just as you’re doing, in your article and comment responses.”
This passage does not make any reference to logical or factual error, but it does cite the contextual attributes of ‘trivial observation’ and ‘irrelevant noises’, with regard to the post’s references to free-market economy. Therefore, your request for specific identification of factual or logical errors, is a misplaced ‘red herring’, not pertinent to the text of my comment. Whether or not it has any relevance to you, regarding a personal preoccupation with particular conceptions of the factual or the logical, seems to be a hypothetical factor strongly suggested in your comment responses, where those themes have arisen more than once.
Another way of presenting the point about ‘market mysticism’, would be to ask, what role, if any, do you suggest, the government or state forms, should actually have? Should governments or states, exist at all? Because whatever configuration might be suggested, it would necessarily lead to conditions of mechanical consequence, potentially considered as iniquitous from the perspectives of rationales external to such configuration. Conceptions such as ‘minimal government’, for instance, are contingent on a particular criterion or conception of administrative magnitude. Given the nature of systematic consequence, any administrative gesture, at all, could be seen as an unwarranted and iniquitous intervention, of the greatest consequence. That is to say, conceptions of ‘minimal’ and ‘maximal’, are themselves contingent on conception, necessarily leading to constraints on ‘freedom’.
Even the suggestion of anarchy, as a governing or state principle, would be susceptible to the same critique, notwithstanding the potential play of contradiction, between anarchy and principle.
Given these considerations, any comparison between governmental or state forms, requires far more nuanced development than constant reiteration of a poorly assumed, free-market concept. That would be the unthinking evangelisation of an ideological fixation, not genuine or competent consideration of that free-market concept.
An important omission of your article, is John Pilger’s claim that the USA financed its industrial development through profits derived from militarily enforced, opium dealing. By all reports, the USA didn’t just deliver that opium to the coasts, like the British, they went into China, proactively promoting or pushing it, as is their characteristic style. They were doing all this right into the 20th century; that’s why JG Ballard talked about there being more millionaires in Shanghai, in the 1930s, than in the rest of the world.
Basically, the modern world of the USA was financed quite considerably by drug money; hence the narcotic aspect of its addictive, consumer culture?
But as can be seen in the Disqus comment section following the article, as of this date, it doesn’t appear there, though it did so when I first posted it.
This was the original URL of the comment – https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2017/09/27/the-coming-war-on-china-a-review-of-john-pilgers-latest-documentary/#comment-4158165161
Jeremy R. Hammond
The author and moderator is Jeremy R. Hammond.
As far as can be gleaned from an Internet search, he is allegedly a left-wing, independent writer, who is anti-USA, anti-Israel, and 9/11 cconspiracist. More information can be found at the following links –
One noticeable feature of his comment responses, both on the John Pilger documentary review and on the third link above, is the emphasis on the factual and logical integrity of his claims, even when such integrity has not been questioned.
If his responses are to be taken into account, as well as the considerable omissions of his work, at least as far as the review of John Pilger’s documentary is concerned, he does not seem so much, ‘anti-American’, or even ‘left-wing’, but rather, a libertarian ideologist unable to conceive of anything beyond the play of market conditions. Insofar as this seems to be the case, his political orientation is largely irrelevant, as he falls into the typical US American fad of hating government. Unfortunately, this hatred of the US state, does not seem to result in either effective critique of the government he so seems to detest, or theorisation of the conditions in which it has coalesced. Very much unlike John Pilger’s documentary, which outlines and alludes to multiple issues, not merely the insularity of focusing on the contrast between the contemporary systems of economy of China and the USA. A noticeable feature of JR Hammond’s review, one characterising many so-called independent writers in the USA, is the way that he attributes positions to Pilger which do not actually appear anywhere in the documentary. Hammond hallucinates oppositions concerning his economic obsessions into John Pilger’s documentary. He then berates Pilger on the basis of these hallucinated oppositions, even going on to state various neglects, on the same basis.
This kind of reframing, from the evangelising perspective of ideological narrowness, is common in the USA, characterising people like Alex Jones, and many others. It seems to be a business out there, and like Alex Jones, Hammond does not seem to have neglected the monetisation of his discourse.
His review is so innocuous, it could have been drafted by the Pentagon itself, but to be honest, they would have done a far better job, and it would have been far more critical of the US state.
Concluding this post, are some more comments, which I haven’t posted yet, on the review of John Pilger’s excellent documentary.
Irrelevant Noises about Free-Market Economy 02
I didn’t suggest any logical or factual error in your post or article. But it purports to be a review of John Pilger’s documentary. It is a review, but a highly selective one, ignoring much of what the documentary claims and suggests, to the extent some might say of being disingenuous, or at best narrow and superficial.
John Pilger does not suggest or imply that the free market is inherently evil or to blame, for anything. His message seems to be that the USA’s practices of allegedly free-market economy, are iniquitous, hypocritical, and self-serving. That China had to defend itself from blatant US exploitation, not from free-market economy. An exploitation that the USA itself would consider criminal hostility, if positions were reversed. That the means of defence China resorted to in the face of such exploitation, was another state form and ideology from the West, Communism, inflected by Chairman Mao, into Maoism.
The state form, if contrasted with market economy, is supposed to address that which is not addressed by market economy, it is government supplementation of what market economy might be said to neglect.
Unless the concept of market economy is viewed as a total expansion, with no remainder, market economy is only concerned with economic transactions of a state, not the totality of national transactions and decisions. In so far as this concern is not total, government or state forms could be said to be required in order to provision institutional address of the remainder escaping the operations of market economy.
If the concept of market economy is viewed as a total expansion, with no remainder, such market economy would have no internal borders, due to the fact that market economy is necessarily international. In which case, any analysis of market economy necessarily has to consider the fullest extent of that market economy, which is necessarily global. It would have to cover the historical development of that market economy, in order to adequately contextualise its forces in a relevant way.