Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ramblings on Capitalism & Astrology

I am ill-equipped to be blogging about economic systems, yet feel the itch to write something on the topic of capitalism, and to try to relate astrological factors to it. Planets, points and their place in the zodiac offer a kind of celestial shorthand, I always think, when trying to clarify complex topics. It's a useful language, and well worth the effort needed to learn it.

First a definition of capitalism. I'm not trying to be patronising here, and realise that most of us already know what it is, either vaguely or geekily in depth. I'm clearing the way, and my own mind. This definition is copied from the Hippie Dictionary: a cultural encyclopedia (and phraseicon) of the 1960s ...By John Bassett McCleary at Google Books. It's less
highfalutin than some others, and easier to absorb for non-economic minded mortals like me. Before turning away with a sigh when a passing reader sees the word "hippie" - wait a while and read it. To my mind it's a fair assessment from the perspective of ordinary people who are not part of the 1% wealth-infested elite.

In astrological terms, capitalism, being involved with expansion (of wealth and power), can be connected to Jupiter - planet of expansion. Jupiter is usually thought of as benign rather than malignant. Expansion, in itself isn't a bad thing. But Jupiter also connects to excess, which is almost always a bad thing. Excess requires some kind of brake, limitation, regulation. The last three words connect to Saturn. So, for capitalism to work at its optimum for both capitalists and the people Saturn needs to be linked to Jupiter. In periods where there is no strong enough link, and Jupiter is allowed free reign, economic collapse might eventually follow. I'm getting a vision of that old Monty Python sketch where a BIG guy is being served huge amounts of food in a restaurant - he eventually explodes from over consumption.

It's a good thing, and probably no coincidence that Saturn is currently in opposition to Jupiter, and people are slowly, at last, waking up in the USA to what has been happening for decades. The system of democracy has been corrupted while ordinary people went about their business, too busy and otherwise engaged to notice what was happening. There is no real democracy, or real elections.

The country has been taken over by a corporatocracy. Even many who enthusiastically voted Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008, taking his promises at face value, are starting to wake up and question his actions (or inactions, or "compromises"). This appears to be alarming the President's minions. Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary this week spluttered a completely unprofessional outburst against what he considers to be "the professional left" for criticising President Obama's record to date. The record is proving that the President's first interests are with the capitalists and corporations rather than with the people who believed his campaign speeches.

Saturn is also opposing Uranus, planet of rebellion and reform though, putting the same brake on any seminal revolutionary yearnings among those on the "true" political left. This is also a good thing....unless Uranus gains the upper hand in opposing Saturn as the see-saw swings!

Revolutions have a romantically adventurous flavour, in theory. In practice however, they mean blood and guts, death, injury, imprisonment. I don't think we're yet at the stage where enough people, though now awake, are angry enough to risk that. Younger generations ought already to be complaining bitterly. Earlier generations would have been out peacefully protesting in the streets by now. There isn't the same fire in their bellies. Apathy and learned complacency have taken over. Unless things change for the better soon though, young and old will become angry enough to rebel in earnest. The only reason Britain avoided the revolution against monarchy that so many European countries experienced was that they changed course, ever so slightly, just in time to prevent it. Maybe there's a lesson there for the US administration?

During coming months and into 2011 Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus will be slow dancing, sometimes retrograding, sometimes resuming closer opposition, reflecting an on- again/off-again atmosphere in public opinion as regards capitalism, corporatism, and unfolding events.

The late and oft lamented comedian George Carlin already knew exactly what was going on in the USA, some years ago: "It's a big club and you ain't in it!" he told us.....Thanks, George - would you finish this post for me, please? ~~~


Gian Paul said...

You sure chose the right moment, Twilight. Economically and astrologically to offer your "hippie-and-sincere" analysis of what's troubling America today, and much of the free world that goes with it.

Many forget (even those who suffered for some time from it), America owes enormously to the constant flow of immigrants. As long as there was a WASP majority, everybody politely conformed and worked hard to get there as well. Even if Catholic or Jewish.

The first serious indent came when JFK was elected president. From there, things only "went south" for what the "pure America" once was. Palin today gets some backlash benefit from remorses of "those times", in my view at least. But they can never return.

Another factor that made Americas capitalism "work like a wonder" was the way you managed your Dollar. It started with Nixon in 1972, and ever since Americans could buy cheaply all the BMW's, Toyotas, stereo equipment, oil and what have you that others were sweating to produce.

That now appears to being put into question. The late Bernanke/Geitner gymnastics may not be sufficient anymore to reverse course. It's worth reading what Prof. Laurence Kotlikoff or the economists of the IMF are saying.

Unknown said...

We have the same problem over here T though on a smaller scale.

Where we differ is the way our sovereignty is being lost to the EU, even more so now that the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified. The EU now has its own rapid response force, police force and security service Europol, a foreign office, flag, anthem and so on. And most recently formal recognition by the UN as a country in its own right!

And this last week they are now opening up discussions about raising taxes directly from the European peoples, something that has been resisted for years. They are obviously very confident that the time has come for them to be able to get funds direct from EU citizens rather than via our sovereign (well in name if not in fact) governments.

They already take a share of VAT revenues which originated out of the EU in the sixties. Our direct contribution is now £15bn per annum and due to go up shortly due to an agreement made by Tony Blair some years ago to reduce our rebate. We are the 2nd largest net contributor after Germany though get considerably less in terms of subisidies and grants.

Apparently this is no longer enough and they are quite open about needing more money from taxpayers so they can expand their "Empire" Where is Hans Solo when you need him :-)

Whatever happened to no taxation if we have no representation one of the fundamental reasons for the US war of independence. We don't elect the people that decide on these matters so we have no way to remove them or change the course of these things.

Unless of course we revert to revolutionary tactics which a number of EU countries do have experience of historically as you know. Wonder what it would take to do it this time?

analysa said...

The definition of capitalism you provide from the hippies is completely wrong, consequently, the analysis you provide is useless.

Obama has no idea what capitalism is either, so saying he is on the side of the capitalists is economically again, completely erroneous. Government in bed with corporations is not capitalism.

Astrologically, your definition of capitalism is more accurate, but fails to point out an important element.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ You are obviously better informed than I am on these matters. Having been here for only a few years, I'm picking it up as I go along, especially with regard to earlier US political history, and how we got to where we are.

Thank you for your insight and thoughts. :-)

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Yes, I understand that there may be trouble brewing over there. I'm out of the loop and haven't been reading much about it lately, so thanks for your input and for pointing out that, though for different reasons, there are a comparable feelings of disquiet on the other side of the Atlantic at present.

Twilight said...

analysa ~~~~ Ah yes! - I was pretty sure someone would make a comment similar to yours.

I am not writing a text book here -I'm writing a personal blog with my personal opinions of things as I see them, and understand them.

I note that you fail to lead us to what you consider the "correct" definition of capitalism.

I don't think I said that "government in bed with corporatists is capitalism" in so many words - and I realise that there is much more to be said on this.

Capitalism, unchecked and unregulated leads to mega corporations.

The money contributed to campaign funds by mega corporations
has corrupted the electoral system.

An excess of capitalism and its continued expansion, is the root cause of corporatism having taken a stanglehold on the US, in my opinion. Corporations control everything, including media and politicians.

This is MY opinion, I emphasise this, you are welcome to debate.

Gian Paul said...

Hi Analysa,(difficult to know if you are a gal or an analyst or maybe a neuter or both): The smartest hippie America ever must have had (besides John Lennon, but he was not American) was/still is Bill Clinton.

He went to study in London instead of risking to have to serve in Vietnam. Hillary is still grateful to him for that today, at least for that.

When he became President, he had not the faintest clue about economics, but being smart, he took on Greenspan, from Bushy father and previously RR. I knew Greenspan personally, from my activities then when he still was just "another economist."

Who was the genious, was Art Laffer (Irish) who had come up with supply-side-economics - and RR bought it, and then Bushy f. of course and Greenspan/Clinton. It was marvelous, so do not "hit the hippies", please, I am one of them too, ex that is...

Gian Paul said...

Twilight, having had some more time, I want to comment on your opinion that the British Royals escaped a revolution because of them having "given in".

I think that's not the case. They provided the otherwise insular Brits (coming from Yorkshire you know what I mean) with a colonial, industrial, worldwide perspective. How many teapots and tissues manufactured in Manchester and other small places did not invade the rest of the world?

Would be interesting to have a look at your Queen Victoria's map in that respect.

PS. Apologies for the tea-pots. There were steam engines and entire rail-roads as well which from Britain modernized the rest of the world!

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ Hmmmm - I had to look around a bit for confirmation of my remembered information.
There's a good piece at the BBC website

Here's an extract from it:
During the winter of 1831-32, the nation stood on a knife-edge. In the spring, the Lords showed signs of renewed recalcitrance, and the King, as a desperation measure, invited the Duke of Wellington back to form a government. In response, reform leaders made plans to bring the country to a halt by having their supporters withdraw funds from the banks, using the slogan: 'To stop the Duke, go for Gold'.

The crisis was averted. The Lords backed down and the Reform Bill was passed. But what if the Lords had stood firm? Historians will always debate 'might-have-beens' and no one can prove things one way or the other. However, the potential for revolution in 1831-32 is clear. Public support for parliamentary reform had never been greater. Outside London, no professional police force was

Also, repeal of the protectionist agricultural tariffs - called the "Corn Laws" - in 1846 defused more proletarian fervor.

So what I meant was that adjustments were made to appease the people, consequent on their demonstrations and demands.

Problems remained in Ireland, of course which were to ferment and explode later.

So while those in power didn't exactly "give in" they did, ever so slightly, change the status quo for something more acceptable to the masses.

Queen Vic - hmmm, don't think I've subjected her to investigation yet - or have I? I'll search the archives. :-)

Twilight said...

Link didn't copy in full - will try again

Wisewebwoman said...

You nailed it T!
One of your best posts, and I've listened to Georgie many times and his words hold true. Always.
Owners. Slaves. Check.

Shawn Carson said...

awesome story, twilight!
and mr creosote created a great object lesson for what happens to those who consume too much.
my small company depends on the prosperity of other small 'mom and pop shops' for its' revenue stream and the small business climate is less friendly or prosperous than i have ever seen it before.
fortunately, there is still a spirit of free enterprise in americans and this reminds me of the one redeeming quality of hope that was found in 'pandora's box' in greek myth. the funny thing about hope is that it springs eternal and it cannot be killed no matter how much crap we have to take.

Gian Paul said...

Thanks, T for the further explanations of British history which I did not know.

My "summary" view of history (often economically tainted), let me think that the British, despite loosing the Americas, were quite busy (occupied and relatively content) in expanding their otherwise flourishing industrial/colonial empire of then.

It sure created a lot of wealth and many Brits had great influence all over the world. Here in São Paulo, they left a mighty infrastructure of rail-roads, since unfortunately neglected.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Thanks! George was a great loss, sadly missed. We saw him on stage in Oklahoma City, a couple of years before he died.

He did get very cranky and doomy towards the end, when compared with his early style - Hippie-dippy Weatherman etc. But he told it like it is, that's for sure.

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Yes, I know how hard it can be to run a small business.
My parents did this for most of their very hard-working lives....but that was in the UK.
Certainly, they weren't capitalists - lol! They made just enough to get by fairly comfortably.

Yes, hope springs. Always. Thank goodness.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul - Well, the circumstances I mentioned came a few decades earlier than you're thinking about - I suspect. The industrial revolution led to wealth and power for many, but slavery for many others, especially in northern factory and mill towns, and mines The people mostly tolerated it. Good men such as Friederich Engels helped draw attention to the injustices.

(Ought to mention the Civil War of the 17th century when Ollie Cromwell tried to oust the monarchy - but that didn't come from a revolt by the people, so it's a lot different from French, Russian and other revolutions.)

I'm always amazed when I consider the tiny size of Britain and the influence it had in the history of the world. Very odd! Probably something to do with that "silver sea" protecting it from much attack.

Gian Paul said...

My mostly professional contacts and experience with Britishers led me to believe that you are original thinking (insular effect) and strong emotionally. Engaged but controlled. If it were not you can be wild!

On your Leo postings: Leonardo's is fantastic! Must be short as I have to run, off sailing for a few days, so good next week too you too!

Never stroke me that Leonardo is a Taurus. As he was born on an April 15, as I, I "egoistically" had assumed that he was an Aries. Selective egoism...

Details such as Julian and Gregorian calendars are annoying indeed.

Fabienne Lopez said...

Twilight: Brilliant post. Love the hippie dictionary. I totally agree with you.
The Americans that are aware of what is going on represent a small number and a lot of them are convinced the battle is over. As for the rest of the population they have not awaken to the fact that, in my opinion, the "free enterprise spirit" along with the "American Dream" is dead.
Since I started living in the USA coming from Brazil, I have seen a steady decline in possibilities for American citizens.
Europe who looked stagnant in terms of upward mobility for a long time seems more open and vibrant now. Same for Brazil. Heralded as the country of the future for a long time, Brazil now seems to be catching up.
So my question would be how to get the majority of Americans to wake up?
I have not come to any solution, even tough I live in a cultural bubble (San Francisco) where immigrants and intellectuals understand the reality of what is going on.

Twilight said...

gian paul ~~~ Ah! Have a super time sailing then! 'See' you later. :-)

LOL about British nature - we have a weird mixture in our blood - Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Norman French, and a touch of Roman if they "mixed" with the local peasants. ;-) that could have a lot to do with the way we turned out.

Leonardo WAS quite a piece of work, a magical force of nature, wasn't he!!!

Twilight said...

Fabienne ~~~ I've only now realised that you are "Astrology Unboxed" - I must apologise for my forgetfulness. The list of astro-bloggers is long and it's hard to keep in mind which is which. :-)

Glad you enjoy the Hippie Dictionary.

You're right that the number of people in the US who seem to be awake to what's really going on is far too small, but it is growing slowly I think.

And yes, I've read several commentators who believe it's too late to "adjust the ship of state". I hope they're wrong.

I wish I knew of a way to spread the word and wake 'em up. Problem is that the websites who understand the situation, post good articles and comment on the topic simply preach to the choir (I mean by that to those who are already convinced). So nothing reaches those who need information, or those entrenched in a different mindset.

On bad days I'm convinced that nothing will change unless some catastrophe, either environmental or war-related forces change upon us all.

Fabienne Lopez said...

Twilight: No apologies are necessary, since there was no forgetfulness on your part. I think you already do a great job pointing out the problems in your blog but also by having discussions in your community (from what I remember, you mentioned living in a more conservative area of the US).
If a dialogue can be initiated with the rest of the country, it might be possible to change things. But how long are we going to keep try since change is urgently needed? At one point, it will not matter if a dialogue is started or not, because the house will have burned down anyway. But we still have to keep trying.

Twilight said...

Fabienne ~~ Yes, it's perilously near being too late, if it's not already, as far as climate change is concerned. Same applies to corporatism in the USA. It's impossible for a 3rd party to gain strength now, and that'd be the only hope of real change because the two big parties serve the same masters - corporations.

Campaign Finance reform would help but how could it be enacted? They'll just vote it down, it's not in their interest to have strict limits on how much money corporations can throw to the 2 big parties. Corps. have media all tied up too.

Yes, I live in what some call "the reddest state in the Union". It'd be a lost cause trying to talk to anyone here, it really would.
I'm a foreigner too, so anything from me would be immediately suspect. I've written to our senators before - on health care, and to the local newspaper. No response except for one standard form letter from one senator.

All we can do is watch and wait, speak up when the opportunity arises, and keep fingers firmly crossed that things CAN change.