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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
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ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Friday, April 8, 2016

THE PANAMA PAPERS

For a century and a half, Marxists have been laboring to replace old-fashioned conspiracy theories with more sophisticated structural accounts of the functioning of international capitalism, but the sneaky bastards who run the big companies, and their allies in government, keep undermining our elegant, complex, intellectually satisfying accounts by just gathering in back rooms and conspiring.  The mother lode of all secrets, the so-called Panama Papers, is now in the process of being released to the world, and it is beyond breathtaking.  You can find an extended account of it all here.  Everyone is involved [except the Americans -- they prefer the Cayman Islands to Panama.]  Even Jean Marie le Pen and his daughter are caught up in it.  There has got to be a German word for something beyond mere schadenfreude.  

6 comments:

Alistair Welchman said...

Schadensuperfreude? Schadenüberfreude? Schadenfreude-zum-Tod?

s. wallerstein said...

From what I can see, the Panama papers don't seem to have trapped the really big ones, the billionaires, but just ordinary everyday multi-millionaires.

I'd bet that the billionaires hide their money with some law firms which are too big to hack: you undoubtedly pay more for tax-evasion lawyers whose computer systems are ultra-secure.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

What is really interesting is how many top political figures are caught in the web.

s. wallerstein said...

Right, but the top political figures, Cameron, Argentinian president Macri, etc., aren't billionaires.

Chilean football star, Ivan Zamorano, for example, is on the list and he must have a lot of money and I'm sure that he flies first class, but he doesn't have a private jet. There's Nobel prize winning author, Mario Vargas Llosa: once again, he has lots of money, but he's not in the league of the Walton family.

Once again, they seem to have caught the small fry, while the really big criminals go free.

Of course, it is incredible that Cameron evades taxes in the country he claims to represent and love. In his essay, England, your England, Orwell says that one of the few redeeming features of the British upper class is that they really love their country and are ready to die for it: that may no longer be true.

Charles Pigden said...

Well Professor Wolff has tempted me to toot on my own horn. (The man whom thou gavest to be one of my favourite bloggers, he gave me of the tree, and I did eat.) It is a MISTAKE – a stupid, bone-headed mistake – to suppose that conspiracy theories *as such* are somehow intellectually suspect or unbelievable. (Though of course many individual conspiracy theories ARE suspect or unbelievable.) And it is mistake committed not only by many Marxists (in the name of intellectual sophistication) but also, and notoriously, by Karl Popper. It may even be a mistake that was deliberately perpetuated by the CIA in the wake of the Kennedy association (though to my mind the evidence for this is a bit equivocal). That a blanket skepticisms about conspiracy theories IS a mistake is a point that I have argued repeatedly and indeed proved (at least to my own satisfaction).

See

Pigden, Charles,(1995) ‘Popper Revisited or What is Wrong With Conspiracy Theories?’, The Philosophy of the Social Sciences, vol. 25, no. 1. pp. 3-34. reprinted in Coady, David ed. Conspiracy Theories: the Philosophical Debate, London, Ashgate, 2006, pp. 17-47.

Pigden, Charles (2006) ‘Complots of Mischief’ ch. 12 of Coady, David ed. Conspiracy Theories: the Philosophical Debate, Aldershot, Ashgate, pp. 139-166.

Pigden, Charles (2007) ‘Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom’, Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology, 4:2, pp. 219-232

Pigden, Charles (2014) ‘Foreword’ to Dentith Matthew R X, The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming December

Pigden, Charles (2016) forthcoming ‘Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom Revisited’ (a much revised and expanded version of ‘Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom’), in Olli Loukola ed. Secrets and Conspiracies, Rodopi (13,490 words about half of them new)

Pigden, Charles (forthcoming, 2016 ) ‘Are Conspiracy Theories Epistemically Vicious?’ in Brownlee, Coady, Lippert –Rasmmussen eds The Blackwell Companion to Applied Philosophy, Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell

Penultimate drafts of all of these papers can be found on my Academia.edu webpage at: https://otago.academia.edu/CPigden

For Shakespeare fans, I especially recommend 'Complots' which, from the literary point of view, is the best thing I have ever done. (The first half is a philosophical dialogue in blank verse featuring Shakespeare's Coriolanus.)

The Panamanian scandal is yet another instance of the impact that conspiracies can have on public affairs.

Jerry Fresia said...

Patrick Cocburn does a good job in connecting that dots of corruption and
war:

http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/the-corruption-revealed-in-the-panama-papers-opened-the-door-to-isis/