Michael Albert's debate-provoking post about facebook ending civilization and landing all of us in hell brought to mind Matt Taibbi and Sarah Palin. On-line excerpts of Taibbi's Griftopia point out the political convenience that brains wired for (inordinate?) 'flitting' might present for fraudulent financial operatives and their preferred political representatives. I like Taibbi's down and dirty style but also hope it doesn't detract from his substance. Some of what he's saying seems to be right up there with Nobel-Prize winning John Kenneth Galbraith.
Taibbi in Griftopia(2010) "Our world isn’t about ideology anymore. It’s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate will power to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. "
Galbraith in The New Industrial State(1958) "Economic systems tend to converge on the large, bureaucratic industrial system. There shape is thus more determined by technology and organisation than by ideology. The traditional and pedagogically convenient view of America as a free market capitalist economy dominated by small firms with little capital is a poor representative of a substantial part of the economy. "
Sarah Palin's attention span and Twitter. "Twitter seems to have been invented expressly for the former Alaska governor, a public figure whose prodigious need for attention is matched only by her microscopic attention span." Sounds like Social Network Site psychology.
And more from the Griftopia excerpt on Wall Street fraud finding attention deficits favorable. "So long as this stuff is not widely understood by the public, the Grifter class is going to skate on almost anything it does—because the tendency of most voters, in particular conservative voters, is to assume that Wall Street makes its money engaging in normal capitalist business and that any attempt to restrain that sector of the economy is thinly disguised socialism….The other reason is obvious: the bubble economy is hard as hell to understand. To even have a chance at grasping how it works, you need to commit large chunks of time to learning about things like securitization, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, etc., stuff that’s fiendishly complicated and that if ingested too quickly can feature a truly toxic boredom factor..." Taibbi was also on Uprising Radio transmitting the same idea that understanding the financial meltdown and necessary policies requires an 'intellectual committment' not seen in Tea Party candidates but possible regardless of background.