The Third Place: Youth Countercultures and Student Economies

The State of Total Mobilization has set the precedent for practically anything to be done on a massive scale. Scores of people can now participate in any given movement and agitate for political-economic changes. Here, the concept of “revolution” takes on different meaning aside from its original context. Normally, when one thinks of “revolution,” what comes to mind are events like the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the October Revolution (and the less well-known January Revolution), the November Revolution, or the Cultural Revolution. It would be remiss for one to not take into consideration the other “revolutions” which also occurred over the past two centuries.

Aside from those revolutions, others adhered to an entirely different conception. There is the Diplomatic Revolution (where the German-speaking world realigned themselves with either the British like Prussia or the French like Austria). There is the Industrial Revolution, which led to the rise of the Manufacturing Sector. The Sexual Revolution was another. It is argued that the Digital Revolution, which introduced the Information Sector, is the precursor to the “Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA)” that has changed the field of Military Science since the 1990s.   

The Keynesian Revolution

In Liberal Capitalism, one might argue that John Maynard Keynes orchestrated a revolution in the field of economics when he wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936. Arguably the magnum opus of Keynes’s works, the book gave Liberal Capitalist economic thought a general reference on how to convey economic life for Neoliberalism. It had contributed to the reign of the Bretton Woods System, and it played own role in the Death of Bretton Woods. Milton Friedman and Monetarism actually complemented Keynesianism insofar as Keynes and Friedman were both studying national economies through the same ideological Weltanschauung.

What exactly did Keynesianism promote as far as the Work-Standard is concerned? In essence, Keynes had outlined the decision-making process behind the economic policies of Liberal Capitalist Parliamentary Democracies. Split into fiscal and monetary policies, a Parliament’s economic policy will revolve around its Quantity of Kapital and Quantity of Schuld:

  1. Increasing or cutting Government Spending (Quantity of Schuld)
  2. Raising or lowering Taxation Rates (Quantity of Kapital)
  3. Expanding or contracting the Money Supply (Quantity of Kapital)
  4. Elevating or decreasing Interest Rates (Quantity of Schuld)

If Government Spending is going to be increased and the Parliament finds itself creating a fiscal deficit, it can resort to borrowing Kapital from the Central Bank (as the Lender of Last Resort) or issuing Government Bonds as LCFIs (Liberal Capitalist Financial Instruments). The former falls under the third category as a monetary policy, whereas the latter is a part of the first category as a fiscal policy. What Monetarism did was add its own corollary, arguing that the Money Supply and Interest Rates can influence the Inflation/Deflation Rate by artificially inducing Currency Depreciation/Appreciation. And while Monetarism is technically no longer a part of mainstream neoclassical economics because the Money Supply is not a reliable metric within a Fractional-Reserve Banking System, it still contributed to Liberal Capitalist ideology’s interpretation of the Financial Regime vis-à-vis the Central Bank’s financial transactions between privatized commercial banks and financial markets and the widespread adopt of Floating Exchange Rates.

For comparison purposes, here is a diagram of economic policy as it can be conducted based on everything discussed here and The Work-Standard (2nd Ed).

Was the 1960s Counterculture a “Revolution?”

While on the topic of entertaining the definitions of “revolution,” it is only natural for me to ascertain whether the 1960s Counterculture could be considered a “revolution” in its own right. For those who are not aware, the Counterculture refers to the various Western political and social movements that emerged in America and the Western Bloc countries during the 1960s. It was not a single movement per se inasmuch as it was unified by share social anxieties related to the latter half of the Second World War and the ongoing conflict between the State of Total Mobilization and the “State of Natural Rights” which characterized the Enlightenment and Neoliberalism in particular. The State of Natural Rights, the metaphysical basis behind Liberal Capitalist conceptions of political, economic, social, cultural, and technological life continued to live on in the forms of Production for Profit and Production for Utility. I alluded to this in my earlier Entry on the concept of Intellectual Property, where I argued that the first and second Modes of Production drew their interpretations from Liberal philosophical ideas dates back to the Enlightenment.     

The concerns of the Counterculture were many, but they can be summarized by the following:

  • Development of nuclear technologies. The advancement of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy sparked fears about the Second World War continuing where it left off in 1945. As everyone ought to know by now, the official end of World War II was best epitomized by deployments of two nuclear weapons against Imperial Japan by the Jeffersonians.
  • Environmental degradation and resource depletion. The Consumer Spending promoted by Keynesian economics helped pave the way for concerns about the environmental impact of the State of Total Mobilization. Environmentalists are aware that the State of Mobilization can be redirected toward rebalancing humanity’s relation with nature, which has to be done by first questioning and confronting humanity’s concurring relation with Technology.
  • Criticisms toward Production for Profit and Production for Utility. In the “New Left” as well as the “New Right,” there were criticisms leveled against the prevailing economic hegemonies of the day. The prevalence of Keynesian economics and the unaltered implementation of Soviet-Type Economic Planning (STEP) were especially disliked insofar as the former did nothing to challenge Neoliberalism, whereas the latter did little to provide a feasible alternative for most nations.
  • Opposition toward the Western and Eastern Blocs. Certain New Left groups within the Counterculture were vocal in their criticisms of the Western and Eastern Blocs. They believed that neither offered solutions, apart from continuing the stalemate that characterized the latter half of the Second World War.  
  • Criticism toward Custodial-Care Function of the OECD-Type Student Economy. There was also some opposition raised toward the Custodial-Care Function of Student Economies under Liberal Capitalism. I have stated that Mary Perkins Ryan was one of them, but there others as well. In America, attempts were made to propose alternate educational systems, all of which never succeeded because they failed to integrate themselves into the Total Educational Effort.  
  • Hostility toward Fordism-Taylorism. This of course ties back to the aforementioned criticisms raised regarding the opposition to the Western and Eastern Blocs as well as the first and second Modes of Production. At the height of the Bretton Woods System, Fordism-Taylorism was enjoying its apex prior to the Death of Bretton Woods. Not much has changed to provide any real sense of Meaningful Work in the national economies either Bloc insofar as they were perceived and understood to be the polarizing halves of the same paradigm that unites the first and second Modes of Production. This is because aspects of Fordism-Taylorism were already present in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries and influencing the conduct of STEP.  
  • Anxieties over American Suburbia and Jeffersonian subversion of American Nationalism. In America, various movements related to the Counterculture had expressed concerns over the loss of community and belonging as more Americans became isolated from each other in American Suburbia and left the cities to languish. All the major problems affecting major US cities throughout the 1970s had their initial origins in the 1960s. Moreover, while the Jeffersonian conception of American Nationalism was more vocal in its opposition to Desegregation among the Southeastern States, it quietly continued to support Segregation in American Suburbia until around the Death of Bretton Woods.      

Granted, I should stress that the Counterculture was far more complex than the seven attributes which I had just outlined above. It is true that there were various movements whose origins are products of the Counterculture, such as the high-profile Hippe movement, the Antiwar movement, the New Age movement, some Feminist movements, and others. It is also true that it contributed to the problems of Identity Politics and the Culture War which continue to affect the discourse of Parliamentary Democracy. But what I am more interested in are the ones which strove to express criticism and even backlash against the prevailing consensus that existed some two decades prior. There was genuine disillusionment and disenchantment with the ways things were heading.

But if there was a problem that all movements associated with the Counterculture had in common, it was that none of them proved to be substantial in achieving longer-term goals for this century. Although they succeeded as a cultural phenomenon, they did not succeed as a political-economic phenomenon. The so-called “Establishment,” having mastered mass communications and mass advertising applications as far back as the First World War, managed to coopt the Counterculture for its own ideological goals. It exploited the dissent shared among adherents of the Counterculture, manipulated it and diverted it toward unfulfilling pursuits which never amounted to anything substantial. The effects are most apparent in the OECD-Type Student Economy where, instead of an educational curriculum that accommodated the Counterculture’s concerns and anxieties, the Custodial-Care Function underwent a new conception that coincided with the Death of Bretton Woods and continues to exist to this day.      

The “New Left” never realized a genuine alternative to Keynesian economics or STEP nor did the “New Right” preserve many traditions or social norms. Their failures gradually coalesced throughout the 1970s to create a hybridization of their political-economic Weltanschauung by the 1980s. To borrow the terminology of Ernst Jünger’s Der Arbeiter, this was the Gestalt (Figure) of the “Young Urban Professional” (otherwise known as the “Yuppies”). A direct product of what will be discussed shortly as the “Liberalization of Young Minds,” the Yuppie adopted the Social Liberalism among the New Left and the Laissez-Faire Capitalism among the New Right.      They vehemently opposed Social Conservatism and Pure Socialism–“Conservative Socialism,” flourished in the wake of another revolution–“Reagan Revolution,” and act as a “Professional Managerial Class” attuned to the conditions of Post-Fordism and the Death of Bretton Woods. One might even be inclined to argue that they acted as the antecedent to the much later “Wokeism.”

Why Study the Counterculture?

The Counterculture occurred between the two empirical case studies described at the beginning of The Third Place (1st Ed.). The Kitchen Debate occurred in the late 1950s, whereas the story of Samantha Smith happened later in the early 1980s. Yet, at the same time, those two historical events were in many respects influenced by the technological changes that defined the late 20th century. I stated earlier that the two case studies were united as historical events made possible by technological developments in mass communications and mass advertising applications. The role of mass media proved pivotal in ensuring that the two case studies would later become known. They were products of a time when mass media was still defined by State Media and Commercial Media, prior to the World Wide Web (WWW) introducing the more recent Social Media.   

As stated earlier, there have been arguments that the Counterculture was coopted at some point by Commercial Media in the Western world, whose achievements went on to shape the prevailing cultural and social trends of the 1970s and 1980s. The Yuppie was the result of a Liberalization of Young Minds, creating a Gestalt ideologically conditioned by Neoliberalism and Liberal Capitalist conceptions of Technology. Readers of The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) will recall that the 1970s and 1980s saw a “Financialization” of the Market/Mixed Economy by the Fractional-Reserve Banking System that coincided with the Death of Bretton Woods, Deindustrialization and Globalization.   There were a lot of Yuppies who found employment outside of the Manufacturing Sector, namely the financial markets, insurance firms, and privatized commercial banks. Those who did not find employment in anything related to Financial Technology (“Fintech”) were employed within fields related to the emerging information technologies of the period. The firms involved were predominantly concentrated in major cities and metropolitan areas, which caused many to reside in Suburbia and commute to their firms in automobiles.

Even today, the 1960s and 1970s continue to be perceived as chaotic and disorderly years. In the context of the various different movements that sought to shape the Counterculture, a more logical theory is that the Counterculture itself was in some respects a conflict over the widespread adoption of seemingly different and incompatible Gestalten (Figures). This in turn represented a sort of “Socialization of Young Minds” where the overarching goal would have been to create a unified youth movement that could have addressed the challenges of the period. A close analogy would be something akin to another “revolution” that characterized the Conservative Revolution (Konservative Revolution) of the Weimar Republic. In that “revolution,” the German-speaking world was confronted by a German Conservatism that was more opposed to the status quo. If there was anything that the Counterculture and Konservative Revolution had in common, despite coming from different historical periods and national contexts, it was the desire to eliminate any old values which had proven themselves to be counterproductive and to preserve those which are capable of being reinvigorated by the times. Any removed values can then be replaced by more suitable equivalents from the revolutionary fervor.

In the context of the Konservative Revolution, it was consistently the idea of holding onto the Prussian value which continue to define the broader culture of the German-speaking world, and to revolutionize the existing ones with a Pure Socialism that will enhance them. The Counterculture also pursued similar goals, despite lacking suitable directions on what needs to be replaced and what should be the proper replacements. Similar to the Konservative Revolution (even as its expressions differed), the Counterculture promoted a communalism that would be tantamount to restoring important values like community, belonging, and camaraderie among young people. Such values, the Counterculture’s adherents believed, were sorely lacking in the Custodial-Care Function of the OECD-Type Student Economy but could not seem to gain the understanding and sympathies of their elders (a trait that can actually be found in the Konservative Revolution).  

The result for both movements would have been a breakdown in the Left-Right Political Spectrum, where ideas on the Political Left and Political Right travel back and forth, uniting the Political Left and Political Right against the Political Center which represents the so-called “Establishment.”     In this social environment, a Conservative might realize that Pure Socialism can be properly harnessed to support the family, the community, the nation. A Socialist, on the other hand, might learn that their concerns for the plight of the working class can be ‘nationalized’ to address the shared concerns of the Totality and not just any one particular group of people. The “Establishment” would rather prefer the Right and Left fighting each other by conforming with the institutional norms of Parliamentary Democracy, undermining any and all opportunities for people on the Left and the Right to work together.

Enter the Total Educational Effort

Given this particular possibility, the “Second Place”–the Student Economy of a national educational system–stands ready to provide the educational and social environment for groups of young people from different political and social movements. They are capable of existing in the OECD-Type Student Economy and the Socialist Student Economy (SSE), are led by a Student Government of sorts, and can be seen as an extension of the State, Totality and Self trifecta. For the purposes of the Second Place, the proper equivalents here will be the “Student Government,” the “Student Body,” and the “Student.” The Second Place coexists between the First Place (the Household) and the Third Place insofar as it is a part of the everyday social life of young people within any given nation.

As part of my outlining of the two Student Economies, I will be discussing their important differences alongside concurring discussions of the Counterculture, the two aforementioned empirical case studies, and discussions about the “Total Educational Effort (TEE).” The Total Educational Effort is the SSE’s equivalent to the OECD-Type Student Economy’s Custodial-Care Function within the State of Total Mobilization. It affects how the SSE interacts with the VCS Economy, the Reciprocal-Reserve Banking System, the Council State, and the National Intranet. The SSE is designed to function differently from the OECD-Type Student Economy in more ways than the simple questions related to the pedagogy. The activities of the Student Body at the secondary and tertiary educational levels can and will impact the Life-Energy Reserve vis-à-vis the LER (Life-Energy Reciprocity) and LERE (Life-Energy Reciprocal Electrification) Processes.

The SSE will have its own Tournament of Enterprises and presence on the National Intranet for educational and training purposes. It will also have its own facilities and amenities to accommodate members of the Student Body. These characteristics and more will be discussed over the course of Section Four in preparation for the anticipated Third Place in Section Five.       

Categories: Third Place

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