Benjamin Melançon's blog

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Power imbalance is inefficient

A couple quick thoughts relevant to ye old grande thesis which will be written, ten years after it could have had a useful impact on the world. (Nah, i'm kidding, if i have an underlying life philosophy it's that it is never too late.)

Here is the larger fact, which undergirds any other claims.
Power differences matter.

It's pretty weird to have to make this claim, but much of economic theory is based on imagining power differences away. This lunacy allows – or rather requires – F. A. Hayek to argue that a man in a hole is as free as a man outside.

Venezuela & Building a New Society from Below talk with Julio Chavez, Noam Chomsky, and Michael Albert

Global Crisis of Capitalism -> Crisis of Representation
= Exhaustion of Political Parties, Older Leaderships, Neoliberal Policies
= New regional leaderships promote constituents (Chávez, Evo, Correa)

They are actually redrawing what they want their political boundaries to be.

in the future we hope the mayorships etc. will make space for this new proposal

the communal governments
the socialist

May people no longer easily fear entire other groups while trusting our own power-mad elites

Juan Cole writes clearly what I have frequently said before— the right wing nutjobs with access to military weaponry in both the Israeli (primarily the government) and Palestinian populations consciously try to provoke a cycle of violence that keeps them in power (without having to provide anything that people actually want, like meaningful work and health care and in some cases food and stuff).

Israeli Government Destroying Lives In and Out of Gaza for Years to Come

To anyone who thinks that killing more and more people, and destroying more and more of people's homes and hospitals and businesses and infrastructure, is any kind of solution – short of total genocide – to rockets and occasional suicide bombing attacks, I have one question:

Have you ever been in a fight?

Even if the guy attacking you weighs over 200 pounds and you weigh 100 pounds, you are going to try to fight back.

Note that, on the other hand, you are much less likely to start or re-start any fight.


For the new-forming Radical Research Collective, we asked ourselves to share our influences (and the project we want to work on). Here's my attempt.


Number one largest influence on my understanding of the economy and some other aspects of society:

Jane Jacobs.
I read her in books, though some essays are online (some bad links)
Most usefully

Old sneakers forcibly replaced by ! Read more:

i, ah, tend to wear rather old shoes
Dan's dad (Max Hakimzadeh) is in the Natick office (the one Agaric borrows occasionally) of Comfort Shoes two days a week to meet his orthopedic clients.
I was there, hanging out and talking to him about everything while waiting for Dan, and then he asked for the size on my shoes and when I took them off to check (there was no tag left in either of them, and the soles had long since fallen off too for that matter)...

He took them and threw them in the trash.

And gave me a new pair.

Is it possible to re-break a fractured elbow without any big bang impact?

I'm fairly certain it's my left elbow that I broke (fractured, but apparently medically there isn't really a distinction) in a bike accident (never ride a bike that only has front brakes, and then apply front and back brakes at the same time, it leads to other breaks).

Today I went for a short run, did 40 pushups straight (no break, and no none of this is meant to be puns), used the computer as always, made hummus and cooked vegetable fried rice (my impromptu recipe needs work) for business dinner (while using the computer), and now my elbow hurts significantly.

The Beginning is Near

Sean Donahue, Green Man Rambling, writes about the new rise of ancient practices of how people interact with each other and nature as (he says, I think it needs more help) capitalism crumbles:

To the voters of California– if you're against gay marriage, don't go to gay weddings

Jeffrey Rowland says it best:

did you guys really have to take away people's rights? If you're against gay marriage then I have some advice for you -- don't go to gay weddings. It doesn't hurt you. If you honestly think your kids are going to turn gay because of it, you're not only ignorant but you're also insulting the independence and intelligence of your own kids. Dicks.

(I know a lot of you tried, that message was directed to the dicks).

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