Buddhist Anarchism

Alleviating worldly suffering along the way.
dzogchungpa
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:20 pm

Personally, I'm more into Anarchist Buddhism.
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔

reddust
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby reddust » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:43 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Personally, I'm more into Anarchist Buddhism.


Think my Dharma practice uncovered my taste for anarchism along with reading the writings of Noam Chomsky EDIT, a Buddhist friend on Facebook years ago, a young man I can't remember his name introduced me to Noam Chomsky and different definitions of anarchy. I found out I've always been an anarchist. He was a big influence, wish I could remember his name darn it.
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living

Sherab
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Sherab » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:45 pm

Zhen Li wrote:Not only does an enlightened despotist regime have absolute sovereignty - there's no black and white with regards to who owns what - but the individual in charge will run it like a business, working for profit maximization meaning that everyone will tend to have improvements in their standard of living. The closest we can see to this in the modern world are societies like HK, Singapore, or Dubai, run in subsidiarity or by a family, and they tend to be the most successful of all. If the world consisted of absolute monarchies, and you were given the freedom of exit from each polity, choosing to contribute and pay taxes to the enlightened despot of your choice, you more or less have the right/duty to vote with your feet. It all seems like a very congenial idea to my mind.

Running a country "like a business" means that the top guys grab as much for themselves as possible due to greed. That is why the countries you mentioned have one of the world's highest income gap where the top guys can live it up and a significant majority has to struggle just to keep flesh and bones together. Trickle down economics has failed to live up to its promise because of the selfishness of humans. Even a good education cannot guarantee that you will get out of the class of working poor unless you have the "right" connections or suck up to the "right" people.

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:20 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:"They tend to be the most successful of all" only by an extraordinarily narrow and un-compassionate - therefore anti-Buddhist - set of measurements, i.e., GDP and the wealth of the richest individuals.
I'm not going to labour on the point of existing governments, because none are actual enlightened despotisms, but to say that they are most successful by ONLY measures such as GDP, is incorrect, and I think you know it. They've also managed to rank up to having some of the best healthcare standards, and education standards in the world, while also having almost no crime. Economic prosperity is directly related to other measures of success. I am not, of course, suggesting that every kingdom would be identical. There are three directions they'd likely run: economic liberalism (as discussed), nationalism of some sort, and theocracy of some sort. There are lines of success which can only be defined within the logic of a certain religious system.

Bhutan is a good example, but a complex one. Bhutan defines and measures its development along the measures of Gross National Happiness, but the main issue is that they still utilise the logic, strictly speaking, of economic liberalism. They still use markets in a way which GNH is not compatible with. The main issue for Bhutan is that it is wholly dependent upon India and development grants. But, assuming they pay this off, they could strip the economic liberalism and just go along religious, theocratic or other lines which don't use the economic logic introduced to them by India and the British. So, if you don't like development along the lines of GDP, there are plenty of people who will agree, and I am sure some enlightened despot who would rule along the lines of such preferences.
Sherab wrote:Running a country "like a business" means that the top guys grab as much for themselves as possible due to greed. That is why the countries you mentioned have one of the world's highest income gap where the top guys can live it up and a significant majority has to struggle just to keep flesh and bones together. Trickle down economics has failed to live up to its promise because of the selfishness of humans. Even a good education cannot guarantee that you will get out of the class of working poor unless you have the "right" connections or suck up to the "right" people.
If a well run state is like a business, and the citizens are it's customers, then, like a good business, it will aim to serve its customers efficiently and effectively. If they don't they'll lose citizens and thus revenue. For example, the poorest people in HK are still people who migrated from poorer countries, e.g. Philippines, mainland-China, etc. They are voting with their feet, they prefer HK to other places in the world. All this with minimal crime, yet no democracy to speak of. But, the idea of having high corruption in a country run like a business is not likely. Corrupt businesses don't run well, and the shareholders (citizens) will take their investments elsewhere, and vote out the current board of directors. Just look at a corruption perception index, and see the obvious correlation between economic success and low-corruption - so your objection is more or less bunk. http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/

Sherab
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Sherab » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:05 am

Zhen Li wrote:If a well run state is like a business, and the citizens are it's customers, then, like a good business, it will aim to serve its customers efficiently and effectively. If they don't they'll lose citizens and thus revenue. For example, the poorest people in HK are still people who migrated from poorer countries, e.g. Philippines, mainland-China, etc. They are voting with their feet, they prefer HK to other places in the world. All this with minimal crime, yet no democracy to speak of. But, the idea of having high corruption in a country run like a business is not likely. Corrupt businesses don't run well, and the shareholders (citizens) will take their investments elsewhere, and vote out the current board of directors. Just look at a corruption perception index, and see the obvious correlation between economic success and low-corruption - so your objection is more or less bunk. http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/
The foreign workers that you speak about are not going to settle in those countries as that would not be allowed by the governments of those countries. Just because these foreign workers allowed themselves to be exploited in the game of business does not justify the business itself. Besides the poor in countries like HK and Singapore have no where to go. They are stuck. So the exploitation can continue. The idea that a state that runs like a business will be good for its citizen is just that, an idea. In reality, the outcome is rather different and not the rosy picture that you have in your mind. You mentioned corruption as if it is a necessary factor to accumulate wealth. That is a wrong presumption. You can accumulate wealth illegally through exploiting the working poor and not be caught because enforcement is weak. You can also accumulate wealth legally while exploiting the working poor at the same time through various legal loopholes. It is there in Singapore and Hong Kong if you only care to look.

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:04 am

Sherab wrote:The foreign workers that you speak about are not going to settle in those countries as that would not be allowed by the governments of those countries.

Whether they settle there or not is neither here nor there. I don't see what this has to do with my point at all.
Sherab wrote:Besides the poor in countries like HK and Singapore have no where to go. They are stuck. So the exploitation can continue.

No one really has nowhere to go. I know hundreds of people from HK who left and were below average income in HK. Moreover, one would ask whether there is in fact any "real" poverty in HK or Singapore. Every term is relative, so when we say someone is "poor," what we need to immediately ask ourselves is - compared to what?
Sherab wrote:You mentioned corruption as if it is a necessary factor to accumulate wealth.
That's a hilarious statement, I ask that you please read and represent my post accurately. My argument was the complete opposite of this.
Sherab wrote:You can accumulate wealth illegally through exploiting the working poor and not be caught because enforcement is weak. You can also accumulate wealth legally while exploiting the working poor at the same time through various legal loopholes. It is there in Singapore and Hong Kong if you only care to look.

With freedom of exit and free competition between employers, no one is really able of employing anyone for a useless wage.

Like I said, my argument is not about the real world, it's a thought experiment, just like anarchy or communism. Using Singapore and HK as analogies is merely to approximate something near what I am talking about, once again, please read and represent my argument accurately, you seem to have an assumption that I am claiming something that I am not in fact claiming.

Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:57 am

Zhen Li wrote:Like I said, my argument is not about the real world, it's a thought experiment, just like anarchy or communism. Using Singapore and HK as analogies is merely to approximate something near what I am talking about, once again, please read and represent my argument accurately, you seem to have an assumption that I am claiming something that I am not in fact claiming.

Sherab and I both think that your thought experiment is deeply flawed - that the countries you think are "successful" are not successful in the ways that you think they are, and not successful in ways that are important in the light of the dharma.
You began by claiming that, "In many senses, the most free societies in history were those ruled by enlightened despots," and then picked countries that you thought came close to being "ideal states" (that was not your phrase, but it's what you seem to mean) in spite of not being democratic.
How about some real data? Can you search for measurements of liveability, happiness, standard of living or whatever you think is important, and report back?

:namaste:
Kim

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:46 am

You and I are desiring different outcomes from this discussion, I don't want to have a debate where we keep talking past each other so I will stop here.

After all this is supposed to be about anarchism.

Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:03 am

Zhen Li wrote:You and I are desiring different outcomes from this discussion, I don't want to have a debate where we keep talking past each other so I will stop here.

After all this is supposed to be about anarchism.

But you haven't been talking about anarchism at all.
:shrug:

Kim

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:11 am

I was, but I didn't make it quite clear. It started by agreeing with dzoki that you could have more freedom under some kind of absolute monarchy, and that a monarch could run a country as a corporation (which is what they usually really are).In fact, the great thing about this is not just that you can have great amount of freedom in such a system, but it follows from the logical principles of anarchy. I will clarify why this is so.

Let me begin by saying, the main purpose of my argument, and I hope any with regards to anarchy, overall, is to minimise violence as much as possible.

Every society is one in which anarchy exists. The relationships between regular people are not regulated by the government, and families are structures of power and organisation that are completely spontaneous. The main reason for this is agreements, people agree among themselves, without the state. Some agreements, like the deed to property, are written and explicit, but most are implicit, e.g. not attacking people on the street who you never met before.

If you choose not to live without agreements with anyone, you won't get any agreements in return, for instance, if you choose to attack people in violation of the regular implicit agreement not to do this, then people will refuse to do business with you, so long as they are aware of your deed, and you have not made amends, you have the mark of Cain and cabs won't stop for your hails.

These are agreements between people, all of which don't require governments to exist.

Then there is a second kind of agreement, that of property. People can agree among themselves, based upon their knowledge of their own property and other's property, that certain items belong to certain people. If my wallet is in my pocket, and I use it, and I obtained it in a way which doesn't violate any prior agreement with regards to its ownership, it belongs to me. Similarly houses belong to the people who live inside them, unless they have another agreement with the person who owns it, in which case they rent the houses.

But then there are things like roads. People who own roads must also pave them and maintain them, the same with cities, etc. Everyone is born equal, owning more or less the same amount of stuff, but as they grow older it becomes clear that some people own and are responsible for certain things, and other people for other things. All I am suggesting by returning to some kind of monarchy is, identify who is responsible for and owns what, today. Of course there are historic disputes about territory, but who owns and manages what now? There's a face behind every flag, put that person in charge.

All of these agreements discussed have no government involvement. But they involve individuals owning stuff that is designated as belonging to them. Thus far it has been a discussion about anarchy.

But it's also a discussion about what is right now. The fact that the US controls what happens between certain points on a map, and has the right to extract tax from certain people, means that whoever is in charge of the US owns that, and those people who give tax to that person are serfs. That's a fact today, because the US, and many other states like it, are just corporations, with presidents. US, Inc. est. 1776. A corporation is simply an agreement between parties or their representatives, each of whom agree to achieve some result jointly, usually to earn profit for the shareholders.

All my thesis is, is that the US, and other "states" are just corporations with assets, who are managing them improperly because they forgot what they are. Perhaps this is due to what Weber calls the increasing bureaucratization which results from capitalism, or something like it. Therefore, find out who owns it, and make ownership and control the same thing.

The US for example hasn't balanced its budget in almost 2 centuries, but if it redirected it's departments as chartered companies with specific purposes but with the requirement that they make a profit, then things might get rolling. Thus, of course the US also owns a lot of debt, which would have to be given to its owners who would then have some share in the corporation.

The reason I mention Dubai, Singapore, HK, is because when independently owned and operated, cities tend to fare the best. So it is probably a good idea that, if the US were to be formalized, i.e. given to its owners, that they would sell off the cities to be run as individual corporations (of course the original US was intended to be something more like that). Just imagine the Lee family owning Detroit, and I would guarantee you'll see a model city in 15 years.

The great thing about these small states is that they are almost free of all forms of politics (which is such a dirty word, it's almost a cuss). It's also probably not a bad idea to make ownership subsidiary and anonymous (except for in the necessity for legal action), to avoid any politics beyond the practical policy to improve things as a whole. Just look at both Communism and Nazi Germany (sorry for fulfilling Godwin's law so early), both of which are prime examples of the extremes of politics and democracy. When people are involved, particularly masses of people, the worst atrocities can take place - and who to blame is not easy to figure out, as it is in a monarchy or corporation.

The main reason anarchy, or it's extremely long winded elaborations, is important, to be more precise, the absence of states and ownership of individuals, is because politics is what brings about the worst violence. From local violence, the worst form of which being riots which are almost always political, to war. As von Calusewitz, that genius remarked, "war is the continuation of Politik by other means." War is just part of the spectrum of politics, and canons are the Ultima Ratio Regum - the final argument of kings (when of course they're not anonymous).

Democracy is just a bad argument in politics, it is which person has the biggest collection of people supporting them, where 49% are deprived of their rights by 51%. Democracy is, under all circumstances, the greatest hell of politics, which is of course hell itself. Democracy is deciding who wins a war by who has the most soldiers, and has nothing to do with good arguments or actual book balancing (just look at the balance books of any democracy in the world today). To learn how horrendous democracy is, as Churchill remarked, you merely need to talk to the average voter. Most of the democratic decisions taken by the advanced powers in the world are not attributable to their success - which is almost always due to the decisions and deliberations of judges and civil servants. Any government which utilises democracy, is utilising the spoils system. A term which was common in the 19th century but which has fallen out of use, which refers to the system of patronage whereby those who elect a party are assured government benefits upon their election. Civil services on the other hand, if left to their own devices, simply manage what job has been allocated to them, without regard for any external party, because they haven't been elected, and they have no one to appease.

The connection to Buddhism is not only that sanghas are really corporations, a term used for guilds or collections of associated merchants, but that it minimises violence. Moreover, the Buddha emphasised that one great source of happiness is freedom from debt and loans, and in the sāmaññaphalasutta encourages Ajātasattu to pay off debts. Moreover, there should be no fear of capitalism and monarchy by Buddhists, because by association and encouragement, the Buddha gave much advice with regards to markets and kings, and wished for, and gave instructions for their prosperity.

I could go on, and talk about how the Vajjians were a corporation, and more about how Buddhism is compatible with this approach, but, we can work from there, if at all.

My point is more or less to answer your concern that I wasn't talking about anarchy.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:06 am

Okay, Zhen Li, I now understand the basis of what you are saying and its connection to anarchy - thanks for the clarification.
On the other hand, I still think your analysis is wrong. I will try to explain.

Your statement that, "All my thesis is, is that the US, and other "states" are just corporations with assets, who are managing them improperly because they forgot what they are," is like saying that, "My dog is just a cat who was badly taught and can't purr or catch mice."
Historically, the states were never corporations (i.e. businesses). (Nor was the sangha.) Some states evolved from feudal holdings in which weaker people swore allegiance to a local chief and agreed to pay him for protection, etc. In most of them, the absolute power of the chief/baron/king has been whittled away and the weaker people have gained more power. Other states (the US comes to mind) began more like local football clubs, with a group of free people agreeing to share resources for the common good and appoint some of themselves to manage those resources. If the basis of your argument is incorrect, your conclusions cannot be trusted.

And on the local level, people generally behave in ways which are constrained by both common agreement (which you call anarchy, but it isn't quite that) and the laws - which are mostly drawn up with some level of common agreement anyway.
Again, if the basis of your argument is incorrect, your conclusions cannot be trusted.

Finally, it still seems to me that you are judging the "success" of societies by very narrow and un-Buddhist measurements.
If you took a broader view, as I encouraged you to do earlier, I think you would revise your opinions of which countries are "most successful."

:namaste:
Kim

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:06 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Your statement that, "All my thesis is, is that the US, and other "states" are just corporations with assets, who are managing them improperly because they forgot what they are," is like saying that, "My dog is just a cat who was badly taught and can't purr or catch mice."
Historically, the states were never corporations (i.e. businesses). (Nor was the sangha.) Some states evolved from feudal holdings in which weaker people swore allegiance to a local chief and agreed to pay him for protection, etc. In most of them, the absolute power of the chief/baron/king has been whittled away and the weaker people have gained more power.

It is true, nine of the thirteen colonies started as corporations in the strictest sense, as did many other former colonies (in fact, most states in the world, as I said before), and more or less the management of anything by a group agreeing amongst themselves with a goal in mind is a corporation. It's not a word that is restricted to the strict sense of an industrial firm, but to behaviour. It's a term which derives from a verb, and as such is best described in a functionalist manner.

What you describe in the quote, which is more or less a rehash of Hobbes, is simply a corporate organisation. Shareholders investing to a common end.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Other states (the US comes to mind) began more like local football clubs, with a group of free people agreeing to share resources for the common good and appoint some of themselves to manage those resources. ... And on the local level, people generally behave in ways which are constrained by both common agreement (which you call anarchy, but it isn't quite that) and the laws - which are mostly drawn up with some level of common agreement anyway.

Once again, this is simply a corporation. I already explained this. Please read my premises carefully before rejecting them, you have made your mind up before reading my argument properly.
Kim O'Hara wrote:Finally, it still seems to me that you are judging the "success" of societies by very narrow and un-Buddhist measurements.

Once again, I addressed this issue in manifold directions, and even provided an explanation for why it is Buddhist. I ask that you please read what I wrote carefully, and take account of what I have addressed and have not addressed, before concluding that I have or have not. If you are going to make a refutation against the conclusion before addressing the premises (which you just ignored for the most part), then your refutation cannot be trusted.

Moreover, you are drawing conclusions (i.e. that something is or is not a Buddhist measurement), without even creating premises. This is contrary to the basic rules of logic and forming arguments. If you don't even have an argument, then your conclusions cannot be trusted Kim.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:24 pm

Zhen Li,
The meanings you give to "corporation" and "shareholders" are not the meanings that the rest of the English-speaking world gives to them. You have spread their meanings so wide that you have made the words almost meaningless - into something like "group of people" and "people". In fact, you say, "more or less the management of anything by a group agreeing amongst themselves with a goal in mind is a corporation." It isn't.
We can't have a productive discussion on that basis.

Incidentally, you said that I was, "drawing conclusions (i.e. that something is or is not a Buddhist measurement), without even creating premises," but that's not completely true. In my first post since you entered the discussion I defined it negatively: "un-compassionate - therefore anti-Buddhist - set of measurements." Later, I suggested measurements that I thought were more appropriate than GDP and the wealth of the richest individuals, "measurements of liveability, happiness, standard of living ... "

:namaste:
Kim

[edited for clarity]

reddust
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby reddust » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:40 pm

I do not want my government small or large to follow the corporate model, it's a sick model, psychopathic in a way…

Corporations were not supposed to have the same rights as a human being but the powers at the time of the 14 amendment snuck corporate personhood on top of slaves gaining personhood. Sneaky bastards! I don't know if corporate law makes a good person to live with, they always are seeking more profit, it does not seem like a sustainable model. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_corporation)

You know our founders wanted corporations limited for a reason…(http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-a ... ations-us/). The businessmen of early America had suffered greatly under the yoke of European corporate greed and control.

Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

EDIT: I wish we could do the same regarding our government and elected officials who break constitutional, bill of rights laws and get caught lying. Electing different folks doesn't seem to change anything.
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:46 am

Kim and reddust, not only were the majority of the original states in the US corporations, but most cities are too, think of the common name for London, the "City of London Corporation." I can only apologise if you don't want to be open to semantic versatility, but I'll even quote the Oxford English Dictionary to provide what the top scholars on the matter currently believe, I am sorry but it is not me who is lacking in understanding in the meaning of the term Kim (no offence intended of course, just addressing the issue):
OED, 'corporation n.' wrote:Pronunciation: /kɔːpəˈreɪʃən/
Forms: Also 15 -acyon, 15–16 -cion.
Etymology: < Latin corporātiōn-em (Tertullian), noun of action < corporāre to embody; in medieval (Anglo) Latin used in sense 2 below. Also in modern French: see Littré.

†1. The action of incorporating; the condition of being incorporated. Obs.
2. A number of persons united, or regarded as united, in one body; a body of persons.
3.
a. Law. A body corporate legally authorized to act as a single individual; an artificial person created by royal charter, prescription, or act of the legislature, and having authority to preserve certain rights in perpetual succession.
A corporation may be either aggregate, comprising many individuals, as the mayor and burgesses of a town, etc., or sole, consisting of only one person and his successors, as a king, bishop, or parson of a parish. According to their nature, corporations are termed civil, ecclesiastical (U.S. religious), eleemosynary, municipal, etc.
b. Frequently used in the titles of incorporated companies, e.g. the London Assurance Corporation, Irish Land C., Oriental Bank C., Peruvian C., etc.
4. An incorporated company of traders having (originally) the monopoly and control of their particular trade in a borough or other place; a trade-guild, a city ‘company’. (Now so called only in legal or formal language.)
5. spec. The municipal corporation; the civic authorities of a borough or incorporated town or city; the mayor, aldermen, and councillors. (A leading current use.)
6. The body; the abdomen; esp. when large and prominent. colloq. and vulgar.

Since you seem to have ignored Nick Szabo's very good article which I linked, I'll quote it here,
Nick Szabo wrote:When looking at the legal and political history that led up to the formation of the United States of America, judges and historians typically look to English royal and Parliamentary edicts as explanations and precedents for the American government. This is too limited a view. Usually neglected are the unheralded, deep, and indeed often dominant influences on the United States government from medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque-era era corporations.

During these eras corporations took a wide variety of forms. Abbeys, monasteries and dioceses were ecclesiastical corporations; boroughs and cities were municipal corporations, and a wide variety of other corporations existed including merchant and trade guilds, universities, and hospitals. Royal law did not make a strong distinction between these different kinds of corporations as our law makes today between, for example, commercial corporations and municipal corporations. They were all "corporations and bodies politick" whose charters used the same basic form and language and which often were granted various degrees of judicial and police powers as property rights appurtenant to or held by the corporation.

For example, the Physician's College in London, a medical guild, was a corporation that had the power (up until the famous case of Dr. Bonham) to imprison anybody practicing medicine without a license within seven miles of the City of London (itself a large political corporation). Nine of the original American colonies were colonial corporations whose charters granted them broad governmental powers subject to retention of "English liberties" by the residents therein and the king's right to collect customs on merchant shipping. "...one Body corporate and politique in Fact and Name, by the Name of the Governor and Company of the Mattachusetts Bay..." was typical language in these charters. These corporations were even sometimes (as in this case) sold from one set of investors to another: the modern legal distinction between commercial and political (e.g. municipal) corporations was not yet common.

One indicator of the importance of the corporate form are its influences on the titles and symbols adopted by the United States.

"Citizen" is shorthand for the denizen of a city: a member of a municipal corporation. Members of a king's realm in contrast are called "subjects." "Governors" were groups in charge of corporations (usually corresponding to what in modern U.S. commercial corporations are called "directors," but sometimes, as in many American colonies, singular), while "presidents" were chief corporate executives who presided over meetings of the governors. The head of the London College of Physicians for example was its President, and each of the three centers of the East India Company was headed by a President. "Secretaries" (as in Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense, etc.) were corporate managers.

The corporate influence went far beyond style to the very structure of our government. Medieval republics usually operated under corporate charters, and English boroughs invariably did so. These charters were at the same time grants by the king (or treaties with neighboring lord(s)) and agreements among at least a majority of at least one of the "classes" or "houses" of the city. Thus, majority voting (among members of some class, not necessarily all residents), "houses" (often two) which must both agree by majority, and related aspects of our republican government, while often cloaked in classical republican terms, more directly derived from medieval municipal corporations. The idea that a majority can "consent" for other members their class also comes from medieval corporate law (it certainly does not come from contract or tort law). "Constitution" was often used as a synonym for "charter." The United States Constitution can be profitably viewed as a corporate charter, ratified by a majority of delegates to conventions in each State but shorn of royal imprimatur. "The Queen...grants..." became "We the people of the United States...do ordain and establish." "We the People" granted rights to ourselves, in some vague collective way. This makes no sense in legal terms outside the context of corporate charters.

Of course, many titles and symbols did not necessarily have a corporate origin. "Senators" were an oligarchic body from ancient Rome that also existed in some medieval republics. "Congress" is simply derived from the word meaning a gathering, and "legislature" is derived from the Latin "leges" or statutory law. Nevertheless, the United States almost completely eschewed titles from the royal bureaucracy apart from the judicial branch, with its "judges," "justices," and many other titles and symbols, as well as procedural and substantive common law largely derived from the royal common law of England. Other important substantive areas of our constitutional law (e.g. the Bill of Rights) have diverse sources that include Parliamentary statutes and English common law.

Even some of our judicial law is however derived from non-royal sources: equity comes from the law exercised by ecclesiastical corporations (canon law), and much of our commercial law derives from the law merchant which developed in franchise merchant courts separately from the royal common law.

U.S. judges, justices, and historians thus make a grave mistake when they, to take a currently quite important example, identify the vague "executive power" of Article II with the old prerogatives of the King. The abuse of these prerogatives were one of the major reasons we fought a revolution and gained our independence from the United Kingdom. Given the corporate language and substance of the United States Constitution, it is more accurate to identify the powers of the President, where the Constitution itself is vague on the subject, with those (a) of the President and the Commander-in-Chief under the Articles of Confederation, and (b) if that is still vague, to those powers granted and reserved by charter to the heads of colonial corporations, in particular the corporate charters of the nine American colonies, (c) if the issue is still uncertain, to corporate law from the Norman Conquest to the Stuarts, and only if all those fail to give an answer to (d) the King whom we rebelled against, and only then if said powers were not one of the stated causes of the rebellion.

Note also the original flag of the union that you can see in the article, which was identical to that of the East India Company.

To specifically address the concerns of reddust, the issue you seem to be concerned with is one which I believe is only a problem for democracy. Please see what I said previously about the spoils system. As regards corporate personhood, yes, we are talking about different kinds of corporations at that level, and the conflation of the corporate with the personal is also one strategy which helps the corrupt escape blame - this is exactly what I have been arguing against.

When talking about corporate monarchy and personhood, this is of course different from what Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz means by the body personal and body politic in his book The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology, and in Quigley's notion of the "refraction of kingship" in The Character of Kingship. Both of which are great reads, which I recommend. :twothumbsup:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Incidentally, you said that I was, "drawing conclusions (i.e. that something is or is not a Buddhist measurement), without even creating premises," but that's not completely true. In my first post since you entered the discussion I defined it negatively: "un-compassionate - therefore anti-Buddhist - set of measurements." Later, I suggested measurements that I thought were more appropriate than GDP and the wealth of the richest individuals, "measurements of liveability, happiness, standard of living ... "

I already addressed these concerns. Moreover, the argument that it is uncompassionate is really quite a silly one, you didn't support that argument either. How can an increase in wealth and avoidance of debts, something which the Buddha in the suttas instructs people to ensure, be uncompassionate? If anything it is compassionate. Moreover, how can it be uncompassionate to want to avoid violence - of the state or otherwise? On top of those two points as to why it is compassionate, there is simply also the fact that profit is almost universally taken to be a measure of success - it is not an uncompassionate measure, it is an acompassionate measure, it has no bearing on how you feel about other people, you can feel however you like about other people and still make the same profit or deficit. Bill Gates for instance is almost single handedly reducing malaria in Africa, while this charity is compassionate, it doesn't make his accumulation of profit compassionate - it is devoid of ethical content, it is just numbers. So, you may simply be confused with regards to how to judge the ethical character of an idea or action. One problem with the way a lot of people think of ethics and morals, is they think that everything must either be moral or immoral - without understanding that almost everything in the world (and we mean a lot of dead matter and atoms floating around in the void), is just amoral, devoid of ethical or moral character. It doesn't mean they're bad, it means the question of judgement in moral matters doesn't apply. Of course my argument was not for an amoral system - it was for one I think is moral, and I gave reasons for why that is so, but measures like profit, income, GDP, are. One problem with political people (especially on the left) is they tend to get a fire in their hearts whenever they hear or see the word profit or GDP, which cries out that there is some thing worth hurling words of indignation and accusations of injustice and unfairness - when usually that simply isn't the case. To a hammer, everything is a nail.

A similarly ridiculous claim which doesn't make any sense when thinking from the point of view of ethical thought:
reddust wrote:I do not want my government small or large to follow the corporate model, it's a sick model, psychopathic in a way…
I am not quite sure where people come up with this stuff. The idea that "a number of persons united, or regarded as united, in one body" is somehow imbued with an ethical quality, as if a fetishised idol of a cult is imbued with the actual magical or paranormal qualities of the divine, is devoid of scientific or logical understanding about qualitative and ethical judgements. Moreover, the entire argument of reddust is more or less a straw man, what he does is set up a model without ever quoting a single part of my own argument, and then pretend it is my model. If I thus say a government should follow a corporate model "Y," reddust says X = Y, and X = bad, without ever demonstrating that X = Y in all cases and under all circumstances. It's almost as if you're not listening to what I was saying. :toilet:

Sherab
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Sherab » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:12 am

Zhen Li, it would be more convincing to me if you incorporate the impact of the human conditions of greed, ego and ill will, into your thought experiment. Unless the impact of these human conditions are addressed in whatever system of governance, they will inevitably subvert that system. So when I pointed out that running a country "like a business" means that the top guys grab as much for themselves as possible due to greed, I am pointing to what I considered to be a flaw in your thesis.

Kim O'Hara
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:10 am

reddust wrote:I do not want my government small or large to follow the corporate model, it's a sick model, psychopathic in a way…

Corporations were not supposed to have the same rights as a human being but the powers at the time of the 14 amendment snuck corporate personhood on top of slaves gaining personhood. Sneaky bastards! I don't know if corporate law makes a good person to live with, they always are seeking more profit, it does not seem like a sustainable model. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_corporation)

You know our founders wanted corporations limited for a reason…(http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-a ... ations-us/). The businessmen of early America had suffered greatly under the yoke of European corporate greed and control.

Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

EDIT: I wish we could do the same regarding our government and elected officials who break constitutional, bill of rights laws and get caught lying. Electing different folks doesn't seem to change anything.

:good:

Zhen Li,
I haven't got as much time for this discussion as you seem to have so I won't try to respond point by point to your last couple of posts. I will say, though, that you have completely failed to convince me of anything you are saying. I still think your choice of terms is leading you seriously astray and (even without that problem) your whole frame of reference is neither Buddhist nor anarchist.
Before I go, I will just recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluenza as a starting point for your further reading.

:namaste:
Kim

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:16 am

Sherab wrote:Zhen Li, it would be more convincing to me if you incorporate the impact of the human conditions of greed, ego and ill will, into your thought experiment. Unless the impact of these human conditions are addressed in whatever system of governance, they will inevitably subvert that system. So when I pointed out that running a country "like a business" means that the top guys grab as much for themselves as possible due to greed, I am pointing to what I considered to be a flaw in your thesis.

Sherab, this is just a matter of basic economics. It's a good read, I recommend it. :twothumbsup:

In short, the reason why no intelligent manager would loot his own customers (beside the fact that he'd have no one to sell to), is that it doesn't make for a very efficient or productive workforce. The workers will all just unionise and refuse to work for that manager. On a polity-wide level, they'll exodus: East German brain drain anyone?
Kim O'Hara wrote:I haven't got as much time for this discussion as you seem to have so I won't try to respond point by point to your last couple of posts. I will say, though, that you have completely failed to convince me of anything you are saying. I still think your choice of terms is leading you seriously astray and (even without that problem) your whole frame of reference is neither Buddhist nor anarchist.

No problem, I don't have much time either, I'm just writing these long replies in single bursts at the beginning and end of my day. I am not surprised that I haven't failed to convince you, because I am not sure how much you have paid attention to what I said. I just get the feeling you more or less have a gut disgust at it because you have certain prejudices against my vocabulary, which I apologise for giving you, but there's not really any other term I can use. But in the end, I'd rather you not persist in trying to keep pushing your conclusion at me if you are not going to make an argument (that you don't have the time isn't really an excuse for this, since you're still trying to contend with me when you do that).

As regards Affluenza, I have seen the same data regarding social break down in first world countries be manipulated to dozens of different ends, this is nothing new. Actually, whenever you want to critique something about the existing world, just correlate negatively perceived trend with X trend. Replace X with whatever modern trend you are naturally averse to. I like for fun sometimes to replace X with national debt - people are becoming more anxious and not investing in social cohesion, not getting married, becoming obese, and so forth, because they think, nay they know, that they have no future with the way the economy is currently going, and the government keeps tightening the noose more and more. But you could also simply replace X with population density, and say we need to return to a more rural lifestyle. This isn't actually any argument against anything I have said anyway - my opinion is that the present world sucks a great deal (in case anyone hasn't noticed), otherwise I wouldn't be so radical.

Sherab
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Sherab » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:19 pm

Zhen Li wrote:In short, the reason why no intelligent manager would loot his own customers (beside the fact that he'd have no one to sell to), is that it doesn't make for a very efficient or productive workforce. The workers will all just unionise and refuse to work for that manager. On a polity-wide level, they'll exodus: East German brain drain anyone?

You're an idealist. Things don't work that way in the real world. In the real world there are many constraints. If you are in the position of power, you can put in a lot of constraints that are to your advantage. If you only care to look closely at the situation in Singapore, you will see what I mean. Because of the constraints, there will be a range in which you can accrue a lot of wealth to yourself while allowing the minimal amount to trickle down to the rest. In the Singapore example, the laws give a lot of administrative discretion to the government and a lot of power to employers. Until recently, labour laws were weakly enforced. The government involvement in the private sector through government owned companies is very significant. Those working in government owned companies are psychologically less likely to want to jeopardise their livelihood by being critical of the government. Many companies are also afraid to offend the government as they rely on government contracts. Mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government. The government is now tightening its control over social media as well. Election system and process greatly favour the ruling party, and enable it to keep getting itself voted into parliament. Income gap in Singapore is among the highest in the world. There is a significant group of people who struggle daily to make a living. They cannot earn a living wage working normal hours so many have to work overtime continuously or take on two jobs, etc. etc.

Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:22 pm

I'm not an idealist - idealism is the belief in universals. These include religious universals, and secular universals. Religious universals are obvious, but secular universals are things like rationalism, environmentalism, egalitarianism, economic liberalism, social liberalism, communalism, nationalism, and then transplant/reverse ideals like paleoconservatism. In other words, the Enlightenment of the 18th century, which is really a reformulation of the Reformation. I'm none of the above.

I'm not quite sure what kind of idealist you're accusing me of being.

I'm also not sure what your motivation is in talking so much about Singapore. I never said everywhere should be Singapore, but rather, like Singapore in particular respects. There's a lot of things about it which suck, but it's also a success story considering its size and location. Just compare it to Malaysia, which has more resources, the same if not worse manifestations of the problems you list, but on the whole doesn't have the same level of success.

I made a lot of effort to describe the characteristics I am referring to, but you are employing a very bankrupt debating strategy. You cannot take an individual example from which I am extracting particular ideas, identify other particular ideas in association with that example, and use those to argue that the particular ideas which I extracted are part of idealism - and to what end I ask? :thinking:

Anyway, thanks for your reply.


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