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Why I Am Not a Historical Materialist

Hopefully you good folks can indulge me by forgiving this post. It is an unfinished mess because I wanted it out there as the anchor for a hyperlink from a Reddit thread.
At the momebt everything below is a jumble of notes, but I will be reworking it bit by bit starting today.
Hopefully this post will be sorted out and typed in full before the end of April 2017.


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Historical materialism is the idea that history progresses in stages - slavery, then feudalism, then capitalism, then socialism, then communism - driven by changes in the technologies or techniques of production, and that any human civilisation will exemplify this process.

This makes historical materialism an exercise in both historicism and materialism.

Historicism is the idea that studying the past can reveal history's in-built course or narrative, and so show you the future.

Materialism is the idea that ideas ( and institutions) ultimately* don't matter in determining our destinies, and that therefore only material…

Price Fixing? Not on your nellie!

Remember how I said free market cartels and labor-market monopsony do not exist?

The subreddit called BadEconomics includes a delightful thread on the subject of cartels so I feel I should append it to this blog. Here you go. It goes something like this;

Any market with four or fewer competitors is just naturally going to suffer from price fixing.(self.badeconomics) byDrSandbags https://np.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/6382rq/fcc_removes_competition_requirement_from/dfs8a0b/?context=1 From /r/technology comes another thread filled to the brim with an incredibly nuanced and sensible discussion of communications policy. The idea of something called competition in providing Internet service is ridiculous. Even if all four of the major competitors were in the same area, they would simply make a gentleman's agreement on prices. There are two aspects that make price fixing (or collusion in general) much more difficult to maintain that are present in this situation: 1.) It is more diff…

Thomas Sowell on Leftism... not the Leftfield album.

Thomas Sowell was interviewed a long time ago, and the video of it somehow found its way onto YouTube.


In the interview Sowell states that very few leftist arguments can stand up three crucial questions about their preferred arrangement for society, whatever the particular flavour of leftism under discussion:

1. Compared to What?
2. At what cost?
3. What hard evidence do you have?