“Introduction: Training for Political-Economic Statecraft” (Pt. II of II)

Beyond the Gates of Tomorrow’s Yesterday

The secret to understanding a Student Economy’s relation to Kapital and Schuld or Arbeit and Geld is to develop an intimate grasp on the metaphysical concept of the “State of Total Mobilization.” For it was that same metaphysical entity which gave the three Modes of Production their conceivable forms during the Great Depression and the two World Wars, projecting itself into the national educational system. Nowhere is its influence most apparent than in the secondary and tertiary educational levels. The State of Total Mobilization is reflected in the Socialist Student Economy’s “Total Educational Effort” and in the OECD-Type Student Economy’s “Custodial-Care Function.” These two concepts are what can be best described as the opposing conceptions of a national educational system’s school curricula and how it interacts with the rest of the Totality. To recall these two terms as they appeared in The Work-Standard, they were derived from concepts elucidated in the pages of Mary Perkins Ryan’s 1972 manifesto, We’re All in This Together.  

The Custodial-Care Function

The Custodial-Care Function denotes a type of educational curricula where the goal of school curricula is to ‘babysit’ the children and adolescents, while the young adults at the university are taught purely theoretical knowledge that cannot be guaranteed to become practical. If the tertiary educational level is where Kapital and Schuld reign supreme through “Student Loans,” “Financial Aid,” and persistent questions over governmental funding of higher education, then the secondary educational level prevents adolescents from daring to pursue their Vocations in Life.

It is also because of this arrangement that the Student Body at the secondary school is incapable of acting as a generator of Kapital and Schuld. Since the parents have to be preoccupied with their own Professions at the workspace, and the only adults encountering the Student Body are the teachers and faculties of secondary schools, it is no wonder why adolescents are so divorced from the political, economic, social and financial circumstances of their nation. More importantly, the school curricula of secondary school, like the university, offers nothing in the way of “‘training the knowledge, mind, will, character,” and above all providing the valuable experience of Being-in-the-World with a coherent sense of direction and purpose.

What is the purpose of education in the Custodial-Care Function of Neoliberalism’s OECD-Type Student Economy? The ‘Incentive’ is of course to become able to yield the “greatest Quantity of Kapital for the least Quantity of Schuld” through any form of Meaningless Work at the Market/Mixed Economy, the Fractional-Reserve Banking System, the Parliament, the World Wide Web (WWW). But the ‘Perverse Incentive’, the real human cost that cannot be quantified in terms of so-called ‘Marginal Utility’, is the inability of young people to discover themselves and realize their overarching purposes in Life. It is due to these considerations that one finds the development of class and social structures which are to be broken down in Pure Socialism. All notions of national culture, tradition, social customs and norms tend be obliterated in the onslaught of an unending array of subcultures and pop culture trends dreamed up by commercial advertising agencies for propaganda purposes (even when Kapital happens to be their true ‘Incentive’).

The Total Educational Effort

What I had previously described earlier were many of the wrongs of Neoliberalism in the national educational system. It shall not be emulated by the Socialist Nation, especially more so for one whose Currency also happens to be pegged to the Work-Standard. It is a sacred imperative that the next generation in the secondary and tertiary educational levels become the upstanding, sensible young adults that their Nation needs them to become. The Council State might be able to help, but its Ministry of Education cannot be expected to do everything by itself. The family and the community have their own separate parts which will never be supplanted by the Council State. Role models and mentors close to the personal life of every youth are needed.  

Therefore, the Total Educational Effort is to be presented as a suitable compliment to the Production for Dasein befitting of the SSE. The school curricula here is centered around the form and actuality of the Individual–the Student, their sense of Authentic Dasein, and their capacities for personal self-development and self-sufficiency, critical and creative thinking. The aims of the Total Educational Effort are to:

  • Promote a respectful sense of dignity in the talents and abilities of each Student.
  • Help the Student Body develop an instinctual grasp of the concept of Freedom through Service (“to be free and to serve” others).
  • Ensure that the Student Body learns from others outside of their immediate age demographic and social circles by introducing the capabilities of the Work-Standard to the SSE.
  • Assist the Student Body in providing as many opportunities to impart instructive lessons that will no doubt become necessary in their later years.
  • And to reintegrate the meaning of “learning” to the broader lessons of “Life” itself.  

Everything that has been applied throughout the rest of the Socialist Nation must be reapplied in the SSE as well. Anything less is unacceptable and worthy of a failing grade. In The Third Place, we will be exploring the various ways in which the Total Educational Effort–and by extension, the SSE–is capable of becoming an integral part of the national life of the Socialist Nation. Special attention will also be paid to how the Work-Standard is able to facilitate the Student Body’s transition from the SSE to actually graduating up to being part of the Totality. There is no such thing as an “extended adolescence” in Pure Socialism; there is, however, plenty of Incentives for one under Neoliberalism.

The “Kitchen Debate” and the “Goodwill Ambassador”

Two other significant areas of focus in The Third Place concerns how emerging technologies alter the predominant ideology of an affected nation and how the Student Bodies of different Student Economies interact with each other. There are two important empirical case studies from the Cold War that are worthy of mention here.

The first case study pertains to the 1959 “Kitchen Debate,” a colorful cultural exchange between Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. Important to understanding the historical context behind the Kitchen Debate is that this was made possible because of a 1958 agreement between the US and the Soviet Union. The terms of that agreement were to allow both countries to hold an exhibition in one of their major cities, the Intent of which was to introduce their Totalities to their respective national cultures and technological achievements. The American Exhibition was at Sokolniki Park in Moscow, the Soviets holding theirs at New York City’s Coliseum, a Manhattan convention center that operated between 1956 and 2000.

The American Exhibition in Moscow showcased American artworks and technologies, including a model home humorously known as “Splitnik,” a play on Sputnik. Its name was in reference to the model home being split in two, allowing visitors to view a cutaway section of the house from the outside. The interior contained a number of home appliances and a kitchen, the house itself connected to an adjacent television studio recording a live broadcast in color on an Ampex color videotape. This all seems rather quaint by contemporary standards, but to the average person living anywhere on the Eastern Bloc in 1959, these were all unusual sights. In addition, there were other exhibits containing a washing machine, a voting machine, and slideshow film entitled “Glimpses of the USA.” The slideshow itself featured depictions of the then-fledgling “Suburbia” that was flourishing throughout these United States after 1945.

Of the two debates between Nixon and Khrushchev that constituted as the “Kitchen Debate,” only one was actually filmed inside an exhibit which featured a model General Electric kitchen. It was also that same kitchen that the event would later receive its name from, even though the two debates were conflated by the debate that got filmed in color. When Nixon and Khrushchev entered the GE kitchen, Nixon pointed at a dishwater and the conversation began. The following is a transcript covered in a research paper entitled, “The American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959: How the A.N.E.M. influenced the Cold War”:           

Khrushchev: We have such things.

Nixon: This is our newest model. This is the kind which is built in thousands of units for direct installation in the houses. In America, we like to make life easier for women…

Khrushchev: Your capitalistic attitude toward women does not occur under Communism.

Nixon: I think that this attitude towards women is universal. What we want to do, is make life more easy for our housewives….

Just stop and think for a moment. Was Khrushchev correct in stating that a washing machine is an inherent product of Neoliberalism? Or was Nixon correct that it is neutral to all ideologies?

My questions are in reference to the subsequent statements by the author of that research paper, Matthew Williams. He stated that the concept of Meaningful Work to housewives does not exist under Liberal Capitalism, whereas Meaningful Work does exist to housewives under Pure Socialism. The Meaningless Work to a housewife under Liberal Capitalism is predicated on Technology depriving her of Arbeit and Geld by subjecting her to the Kapital and Schuld of buying consumer home appliances that she and her spouse neither needed nor wanted. The whole Incentive provided by the advertisements for such home appliances insisted that, by buying such products, they would in turn “improve her life.”  

Later, in the color television studio, Nixon and Khrushchev discussed about the alleged merits of “Capitalism” and “Communism.” This Author in particular has to raise some important doubts as far as the State of Total Mobilization is concerned. Is the “Capitalism” described by Nixon in reference to Production for Profit and Production for Utility in the case of Khrushchev? Recall earlier that Production for Profit and Production for Utility were two of the three Modes of Production, the third Mode of Production, Production for Dasein, only becoming available upon adopting the Work-Standard.

What makes Production for Utility so distinct from Production for Profit, and where it pales in comparison to Production for Dasein, is the Theory of Value informing its decision-making process. Unlike Production for Profit, which relies on a “Utility Theory of Value (UTV)” that mainstream Neoclassical Economics derived from the Austrian School’s “Subjective Theory of Value (STV),” Production for Utility’s Theory of Value is Karl Marx’s “Labor Theory of Value (LTV).” The Theory of Value used by Production for Dasein is the “Reciprocal Theory of Value (RTV).” With the Work-Standard’s Theory of Value, one is forced to recontextualize the significance of the Kitchen Debates in a different light.

Production for Profit: Should the justification around buying any given home appliance be about its “Marginal Utility?”

Production for Utility: Should the purchase instead be based on the perceived usefulness or uselessness to the “Socially Necessary Labor Time?”

Production for Dasein: Or is it because the appliance just happens to suit a woman being a housewife, which in itself can be considered as one among countless different examples of the Work-Standard’s “Dasein Motive?”        

A similar set of questions can also be raised about the necessity for a “lemon squeezer.” Instead of having to squeeze lemons with one’s hand and a knife, a lemon squeezer does the squeezing. It is precisely here that we find Marginal Utility and Socially Necessary Labor Time at an inconveniently mutual point of agreement. It is also where the Dasein Motive is at odds with the first and second Modes of Production. The secret lies in the Reciprocal Theory of Value’s rejection of the “Exchange-Value” (what UTV emphasizes) and the “Use-Value” (what LTV favors).  

Production for Profit: Does buying a lemon squeezer increase the housewife’s satisfaction with the mere act of squeezing lemons?

Production for Utility: Does the lemon squeezer decrease the Surplus Value that comes with the act of squeezing lemons?

Production for Dasein: Does the simple of having to buy a lemon squeezer make a woman become a better housewife?  

Technology, by dint of its own physical existence in the Real World, is inherently incapable of changing human nature. The housewife, on the other hand, is capable of improving herself as a real woman, and she can do so without having to use a lemon squeezer. Conversely, the advancements in nuclear weapons by both the US and the Soviet Union did not make the Real World after 1945 a better place. On the contrary, it has the made Real World far more dangerous for the environment, the Totalities of both nations, and the rest of humanity at large. It was that particular concern which sets the stage for the other empirical case study.

The second case study in The Third Place is related to the life experiences of Samantha Smith, an American girl from Manchester, Maine, whose importance in the Cold War was her famous letter to Yuri Andropov and the subsequent response letter from him. It was because of that response that Smith was able to receive a rare opportunity to visit the Soviet Union and interact with the Soviet national educational system. Her action led to her being considered a “child diplomat,” which resulted in her later becoming a “child celebrity” upon returning to the US. Although her status in the US diminished by what was perceived as a media sensation, in the former Soviet Union, she was remembered in a different light, especially after her untimely death in 1985.

The Soviets saw her as model of “cultural diplomacy,” of engaging with other nations beyond the usual diplomatic channels. Although cultural and educational exchanges were routine to the Soviets, it was the implications of Smith’s decisions that made her unique. She wrote to Andropov and went to the Soviet Union on anti-war grounds, whose beliefs posed an indirect opposition to the Jeffersonian aims of the Reagan Revolution. She wanted to know whether the Soviets stood in relation to the State of Total Mobilization in this post-1945 Real World. Childhood innocence and an innate sense of curiosity were what made her motives sincere, long after her passing.

The question posed by this case study has everything to do with the Student Government, the political structure that presides over the Student Economy. In the OECD-Type Student Economy, there truly is no Student Government to speak of. If there is any, it is so small and uninfluential that almost nobody bothers to ascertain its existence. By contrast, in the SSE, there is in fact an organized Student Government capable of delegating the concerns of young people at the secondary and tertiary educational levels. But in a Socialist world order, like the kind described in relevant Entries of The Work-Standard, it becomes apparent to ascertain the interfacing between different SSEs. The same could be said for SSEs interacting with an OECD-Type Student Economy, in spite of the fact that latter has an almost non-existence Student Government.

Are the diplomatic ties between Student Governments meant to be reflections of the ones between their central governments? Is it possible for younger generations to have different views toward another nation, views which are distinguishable from those of the older ones? Why does the SSE need to have a Student Government presiding over the Student Economy? Does it have something to do with the inherent peculiarities of Council Democracy?  

Make no mistake, all of those questions are valid ones. One of the purposes of a Student Government, beyond delegating the interests of the Student Body at the State Council–the national legislature of the Socialist Nation–under the Ministry of Education, is to realize the Total Educational Effort with the Work-Standard. In addition to the Arbeit and Geld of the teachers and faculty, the Student Body is capable of creating Arbeit and Geld through practical hands-on applications of their school curricula outside the classroom and lecture halls. Far more than just addressing the question of financing their educational costs, the Student Economy has its own Enterprises which are owned and operated by members of Student Body, each one catering to specific Profession. These “Student Cooperatives” exist to train and provide experiences that each Student will later need in order to realize their intended Vocation in Life. And just as the Student Cooperative is capable of training the Student Body, the same can also be said for the Student Government as well, which is meant to nurture the potentialities of Students whose latent talents will guide them straight to the everyday affairs of someday running the central government.    

But there is far more to The Third Place than the political and economic matters. There are also the matters related to the Student Body, such as the social support structures that exist outside the classroom and lecture hall. For if the SSE constitutes itself as the “Second Place,” what else can be said about the “First Place” and the eponymous “Third Place?”

Categories: Third Place

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