Conner Habib, on Progressives Disconnect From Spirituality |401|

ES,
I see what you work on and where you're coming from. Are you a GS or a contractor?
Neither. I own a private strategy and advisory firm (several since 1988) which works internationally on trade and infrastructure, but I coordinate loosely with embassies, USAID and various other US governmental agencies as needed. My group(s) compete quietly with Booz Allen, McKinsey Global, BCG etc. We can be hired by foreign governments or also by NGO's or Intra-Industry Liaison groups working for a government, trade alliance or a specific market. It is about 70% NGO/IIL work and 30% direct with the nation involved. But we are not a US Contractor no.
 
Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail.

The job of the government is to bound the function of business and help cultivate a fertile ground for its thriving, yet still refuse to usurp its role.
I wouldn't disagree with that. And I hope hope no one here thought I was advocating a 100% controlled economy. Yet, I still fail to see how the accumulation of economic power can take place without inevitably leading to a shift toward extractive, rentier economies and endemic cronyism.

Of course, as David Bailey says, centrally controlled economies have the same problem (perhaps more so).

So, maybe I've just made the case for @Vortex 's anarchistic ideas. :)

You have to remember that Sweden exports $420 billion in oil per year, for a population of about 10 million people. Norway exports $220 billion in crude and refined, for a population of 6 million people.
Fair point, but not all the countries that follow the 'Nordic Model' are as astoundingly resource rich, are they? Even if they are, they sure handle oil price busts better than Chavismo. Anyway, it's such an interesting mix of free markets and intervention.... I won't be deterred! :)

The Socialist Cronies banded together to oppose that set of recommendations, because they were taxing 100% of the production earnings - and did not want to lose that gravy train. They were throwing fits in their elaborate palaces and mosques and citing the 'money they gave to the poor'. They even tried to have me killed.
Glad you're still with us. Who would have thought being an economic strategist could be so dangerous! Then again, it makes perfect sense, actually.

PeeWee Herman could govern those countries via PeeWeeism, where everyone was required to run in the streets laughing goofily for 4 hours each day - and that would be a success.
That's not so bad, I thought PeeWeeism might involve having to pull yourself off in a cinema for 4 hours a day.

Anyway, I don't want to take up anymore of you time.

Peace.
 
Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail.
I wouldn't disagree with that. And I hope hope no one here thought I was advocating a 100% controlled economy. Yet, I still fail to see how the accumulation of economic power can take place without inevitably leading to a shift toward extractive, rentier economies and endemic cronyism.
Actually, I am writing a post on this very topic and have it in draft, so I extracted some of that material. It helps me to discipline the material. But yes, I have fought 3 battles in my career:

1. Chinese fixed-tiered cost incentive planning and sales - equating to product dumping in their consuming countries. I helped us all win this battle, but it took 4 decades of preaching and people (including the Chinese) going 'Hey wait a minute, I think I get what he is saying...." This is part of the trade negotiations underway now - but also pre-existed it.

2. Wall Street extraction and sequestration, pushed by smart-but-stupid Harvard MBA's (Masters in Buzzword Artistry) killing the middle class and not standing up ethically to their Extraction-Masters.

3. The increase in extraction sequestration and taxation which forces monist control (the union of Oligopoly and Collectivism into one socialist mafia). Both internationally and at home.

In other words, fighting Cronyism through first educating our executives to understand what it is, and what it does - and second, through legislation and trade convention which prohibits the accrual of rentier (I like your term) wealth (Socialism = Wealth Massing) - and further encourages the deployment of capital back into the value chain (new enterprise, innovation, jobs, benefits, mercy, green energy, discovery, research, etc...).

Glad you're still with us. Who would have thought being an economic strategist could be so dangerous! Then again, it makes perfect sense, actually.

That's not so bad, I thought PeeWeeism might involve having to pull yourself off in a cinema for 4 hours a day.
Exactly what I was thinking when I wrote that line... :D
 
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The family is older than any economic model you can come up with. Do we stop taking care of granny when she's too old to work or does she still retain some value? Do we not pay for our children to get educated and feed them and teach them responsibility until they are old enough to do it on their own? You wouldn't run your family like a business and your real family is the whole of humanity.

That digging holes and throwing the dirt into other holes example is exactly what capitalism is, all of us undoing the work of each other. I'd say 90% of capitalism is bullshit jobs and completely useless. Think of all that free time we could have. We've got skyscrapers full of paper pushing and competition for no reason at all except to keep people busy and keep the money funnel pushing wealth up the chain. It's not a good system for the majority of people invested in it. We can do better.
I agree with one thing, we can do better. But the way to do better is to empower the family, not make government into a giant family of all of humanity. This is the problem right here. I would not throw my granny out, unless she was a crook. Then she deserves to be thrown out. She would have a few years in a shelter to consider her poor choices before her death. That is actually compassionate, because I care enough about my fellow man that I do not accept and empower and support evil behavior, even in my own family. I can’t see whether every granny in the world deserves my devoted protection and care.

I would educate my children, and feed them, until they reach the age they can do that for themselves, and should. It is not more spiritual or more ethical to treat the entire world’s population as your children. This is going to have the exact opposite effect as that which you are intending, because it’s not based in actual ethics, it based in a need to ‘feel good’ about oneself for trying to lift the empoverished whether or not they want to or deserve to be ‘lifted’ by you in the direction you set for them.

If we truly want to do better as a civilization we need to teach self-reliance, because only those who are self-reliant have anything to offer to the weakest and most marginalized folks. If you want to live simply that can be done with a minimal amount of work in this country—I know plenty of guys hobbling together a living doing odd jobs or reselling on EBay and are perfectly fine in their studio apartment and want to remain bachelors indefinitely.

And, if you like the goodies of the material world you can work hard and learn to play the game well, but neither of these choices are inherently more spiritual or ethical than the other.

Any system is only going to be as good as the individuals comprising it, at this point no system will work well or has any hope to work well because far too few people have stepped outside their current systems long enough to use their creative potential to envision something new.

We are left with the technology worshippers who will give our freedoms over to the algorithms as our new Lord and Master. The ‘communists’ will rejoice that all is distributed evenly to the masses at last, when the tech works right. The ‘capitalists’ will rejoice they have the best excuse ever to strike. Meanwhile Granny’s moved from simple conning to murder because everyone continues to assume her innocence in the whole charade we call modern culture.
 
I really liked this conversation! But I’m surprised that in the chat no one is discussing sex!

I’ve been gone for a while, and it’s nice to see so much engagement, even though it’s only about politics. :)

What about spirituality and sex? This seems to me the essential to be unpacked from this conversation. We have a sex expert here and all we can discuss is politics and economics? This seems to be some of the social problem he was pointing at, no?

I heard a good joke from a comedian I just started listening to who said he cured his porn addiction with conspiracy theory addiction! I think that’s a step in the right direction.

I think one thing is working in this culture and that is the “give them enough rope to hang themselves” aspect of the ‘elite’ toward the masses. It works. Get them addicted to porn and pharmaceuticals and the hamster-wheel of endless, mindless consumption and watch what they do, like The Hunger Games sort of. What does a man do with his freedom? Spend it getting others to do his bidding? Does he spend his life debating whether Jesus was a living man? Does he spend it chasing his tail? The potentials are limitless, unless we can enforce limitations, which is the purpose of government and religion, at least in theory, right?

Will to power, or will to meaning?

Can man rein in his own instinctive drives which are socially or personally damaging for the good of all? Isn’t that what spirituality is really about? If he proves he cannot, which he is daily proving now for centuries on an escalating scale, then he must be reigned over.

Sex workers’ rights? Why not. I suppose they should have the same rights as other workers. I’ve seen some porn in my day, the actors didn’t look terribly marginalized to me, but I don’t know how it works behind the curtain. When we have guests willing to share their expertise on these difficult yet necessary topics, it seems to me we often are so dumbstruck we don’t ask the right questions.

I’d like to know if being a sex-worker felt spiritually empowering to Conner, and why or why not, in his estimation. And what he thinks of the introduction of sex to increasingly younger children and in so many ways so quickly. When I was a youngster sex education consistented of an afternoon of videos about the reproductive organs and how to use menstrual products. Now they teach about anal sex, apparently. How the hell did that happen in 1 generation?!
 
I really liked this conversation! But I’m surprised that in the chat no one is discussing sex!
yeah I suppose there's a lot to unpack there. We talked about this a little bit at the beginning with regard to Conner's dissertation, and that part is of interest to me but...
I’d like to know if being a sex-worker felt spiritually empowering to Conner, and why or why not, in his estimation.
I don't get this.
 
I really liked this conversation! But I’m surprised that in the chat no one is discussing sex!

I’ve been gone for a while, and it’s nice to see so much engagement, even though it’s only about politics. :)

What about spirituality and sex? This seems to me the essential to be unpacked from this conversation. We have a sex expert here and all we can discuss is politics and economics? This seems to be some of the social problem he was pointing at, no?
I did briefly, and mine was the first comment.
Sex workers’ rights? Why not. I suppose they should have the same rights as other workers. I’ve seen some porn in my day, the actors didn’t look terribly marginalized to me, but I don’t know how it works behind the curtain.
Well the phrase 'sex workers' covers a range of activities, and clearly when you have laws that make it hard for a woman to advertise herself except on the street, you do make her extremely vulnerable.


When we have guests willing to share their expertise on these difficult yet necessary topics, it seems to me we often are so dumbstruck we don’t ask the right questions.
I suppose Alex didn't want to plunge too deeply into that topic, and many heterosexual men don't like to think about gay sex.
I’d like to know if being a sex-worker felt spiritually empowering to Conner, and why or why not, in his estimation. And what he thinks of the introduction of sex to increasingly younger children and in so many ways so quickly. When I was a youngster sex education consistented of an afternoon of videos about the reproductive organs and how to use menstrual products. Now they teach about anal sex, apparently. How the hell did that happen in 1 generation?!
I think we both caught the tail end of the puritan Victorian era (whatever that is called in the US), and I am sure there will be another puritanical era as a rebound to the present extremism. Why the hell can't people settle for a moderate course, making any further adjustments very slowly?

Teaching same-sex sex or transgenderism to young children is an abomination - because until they reach puberty they don't have any idea what it is all about. I remember my surprise when I suddenly began to understand what dating girls was really all about!

BTW, I don't object to his being into gay sex work and spiritual matters. I think he could have expounded more on the way people too readily think of sex as being incompatible with spirituality.

David
 
yeah I suppose there's a lot to unpack there. We talked about this a little bit at the beginning with regard to Conner's dissertation, and that part is of interest to me but...

I don't get this.
Sex therapy is quite popular now and there is a very ‘hands-on’ approach, if you get me, and most of this is done by women who consider themselves to be doing very spiritual work—Kama sutra sort of thing. I’m curious how much cross-over there is in the sex worker side of it all—as in cultivating feelings of euphoria, healing trauma, providing comfort, etc. I’ve wondered where is the distinction between a sex therapist and prostitution if they are performing similar services, is it in the intention? What is the difference between an illegal brothel and a legitimate sex therapist’s office who also physically manipulates her/his clients?
 
Sex therapy is quite popular now and there is a very ‘hands-on’ approach, if you get me, and most of this is done by women who consider themselves to be doing very spiritual work—Kama sutra sort of thing. I’m curious how much cross-over there is in the sex worker side of it all—as in cultivating feelings of euphoria, healing trauma, providing comfort, etc. I’ve wondered where is the distinction between a sex therapist and prostitution if they are performing similar services, is it in the intention? What is the difference between an illegal brothel and a legitimate sex therapist’s office who also physically manipulates her/his clients?
ok, I see where you're going... Those are all very legitimate questions
 
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