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Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism

Slag 20 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM
Bonzo3legs 20 Jun 08 - 06:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jun 08 - 06:54 PM
meself 20 Jun 08 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Mike S 20 Jun 08 - 07:10 PM
Slag 20 Jun 08 - 07:13 PM
Amos 20 Jun 08 - 07:43 PM
Def Shepard 21 Jun 08 - 12:45 PM
Geoff Wallis 21 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM
Art Thieme 21 Jun 08 - 01:47 PM
Bonzo3legs 21 Jun 08 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Mike S 21 Jun 08 - 02:02 PM
Def Shepard 21 Jun 08 - 02:08 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jun 08 - 03:57 PM
Def Shepard 21 Jun 08 - 04:03 PM
Slag 21 Jun 08 - 08:58 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Jun 08 - 04:28 AM
semi-submersible 22 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM
Art Thieme 22 Jun 08 - 11:26 AM
Stringsinger 22 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM
Art Thieme 22 Jun 08 - 01:08 PM
semi-submersible 22 Jun 08 - 03:04 PM
glueman 22 Jun 08 - 04:49 PM
semi-submersible 22 Jun 08 - 05:09 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jun 08 - 05:31 PM
Grab 22 Jun 08 - 08:45 PM
semi-submersible 23 Jun 08 - 05:27 AM
Vin2 23 Jun 08 - 08:17 AM
Flash Company 23 Jun 08 - 11:09 AM
Grab 23 Jun 08 - 11:36 AM
semi-submersible 23 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM
semi-submersible 23 Jun 08 - 07:20 PM
Amos 23 Jun 08 - 07:53 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Jun 08 - 04:03 AM
GUEST, Sminky 24 Jun 08 - 06:09 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Jun 08 - 06:19 AM
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Subject: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Slag
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM

I'm not really sure under which category this belongs but I'm sure a (the) moderator will find a spot for it. That said...

There are three stages to any capitalistic endeavor. These truths are so basic that their application really goes well beyond capitalism. A lot of business folks do not know what I am about to give you. There are CEO who do not understand or fully appreciate the following. Huge expensive seminars are given which only hint at what follows. Here it is, free. Read and heed.

Stage 1. The INDIVIDUAL person has an idea for making money. It can be anything, a corner grocery store, light construction, music for profit, selling dope on the street corner! Anything. This stage is marked by the INDIVIDUAL. He has the idea. He sees a way and he has the means of launching his business venture. All obvious and straight forward, right? Success is determined by his (please understand that this also includes all "her's" too) subsistence, social upward mobility or even breaking the bank. The "Mom and Pop" operation is the hallmark of this stage.

Stage 2. The individual discovers the necessity of hiring helpers to run his business. This is the condition of many small businesses in the US today. The INDIVIDUAL is still "hands on" involved in the day to day operations but he now has a more administrative role to play. The baker needs to hire folks to do the mixing and cleaning. The farmer hires planters and reapers, maybe a machinist. The solo musician decides the sound needs accompaniment, maybe drums and a keyboard. This stage is hallmarked by the owner/boss doing the hiring and firing and directing the work.

Stage 3. This is the most difficult stage to enter because it means for the founder that he is no longer entirely in control of the business he started. Managers are hired to manage the various operations that the business may entail. Stock is sold. The shares in the company may also have voting privileges. Many founders of their own enterprizes like to maintain 51 percent or whatever is thought to be the controlling interest in said business. The founder as an INDIVIDUAL is no longer intimately involved with his initial work. This is a very difficult stage because He no longer gets to do what he really loved to do: actually making the widgets! performing the music. The really creative guys try to set up their business in a way where they can do both. Sometimes, in a really huge business, the entrepreneur will sell out and go to work for the company he created. He may even sell out and go start another business because that is what he likes to do.

Nothing really ground shaking there? Well, consider this. That which the INDIVIDUAL has created is an ENTITY in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of the IRS. In essence, what the person has done is create a moneymaking monster that is bigger than himself. People who attach themselves to this "monster" have recognized its ability to make money and they want to share in its ability to do so. The CEO and managers try to control this being. The people who have attached themselves to the being become part of the entity until they find themselves of no further use to the same. Pink slips! This then is the Corporation. This concept holds true for businesses, governments, churches, and folk singers under a record label.

It's really all about control and the continuing success of the corporate entity. When you understand the model you then understand your place in the scheme of things, your degree of dependency and the inverse: your degree of freedom! The family entity is the most basic form of this concept. To succeed the members of the family needs to understand their need for one another. Citizen of the town, county, crown. Read the Bible with this model in mind and see how it looks! Probably quite different than what you thought.

In particular, to relate it to the music industry and folk, you as the musician need to look at your involvement. Are you a fan? Just a fan? Then you are a consumer of what the entity produces. Your vital roll is to BUY the product which keeps the beast alive. Do you play an instrument/sing? What is your involvement? Do you plan to make money doing this? Then you are attaching yourself to the beast! In what way and to what degree? Remember the beast must be controlled and if you are a part of it then you are going to be involved in the controlling and you will be controlled to some extent. You don't like that? Too bad. Back to Stage 1. You now have a band which you, as the founder, control. Now you are involved in the tightrope walk of assuaging egos and deciding what is the most lucrative approach to take with your little organization.

Do you have your own label? Different talents are called for. You are making executive decisions, evaluating talent on the basis of how that talent can best be utilized to make money. Got a great talent working for you but they do not understand what I have just related above? You have a problem. Prima Donnas are a problem because they do NOT understand their role to play in the entity. They also have the ability to sink or seriously damage the corporation. Problems, problems! Makes you want to pick up that banjo, well at least that old fiddle and saw out a few blue notes, at any rate.

What is you political point of view? I'll tell you one thing, it's about control. Who will control what, to what extent and how will it benefit the beast, the corporate entity which IS its citizens and all their enterprizes. Don't decry the beast. You slay this one and another very similar to it will arise and after how much bloodshed and pain? Chuck it all? Bow up your TV? Move to the country? You will never be free or rid of this thing. If you hate it you can live with it at minimal attachment, run your Mom & Pop pub/music/vanity press record label but you live at the largess of the beast. Remember, in winter, the lone wolf dies.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 06:40 PM

What on earth are you on about?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 06:54 PM

Only his psychiatrist knows.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: meself
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 07:01 PM

These boys had the right idea:


When I was little, and my father was around for a while one summer, there were also the fiddle players. They'd appear out of nowhere and just move in for
days, eating and drinking and playing the fiddles in the evenings. Their whole lives seemed to be like that, going from house to house. In the winter they'd
move in for months with someone who had a kid who wanted to be a fiddler himself. There's also a piper named Sandy Boyd who lives like that: wandering
around playing and teaching music, getting paid in hospitality.

My father learned to play the fiddle, but stopped after he got married.

"The fiddle is a lovely thing," my mother says. "But it's bad for attracting boozers."

(Linden MacIntyre, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, p. 134. About a childhood in Cape Breton.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: GUEST,Mike S
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 07:10 PM

It makes good sense to me; it's a realistic view whatever the reason for stating it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Slag
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 07:13 PM

Well, just maybe Bonzo and Q were meant to be consooomers and always will be.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 08 - 07:43 PM

The description is valid, if a bit simplified.

The other way to go is to do what thew Beatles did--or the Stones, or Mister Dylan, etc--which is to stay in the genius and production end, and leave the prganizational, financial, legal and other foofaraw to others.

A


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Def Shepard
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 12:45 PM

I'm a performing musician and have been for more years that I care to remember; and you know what? I have absolutely no idea what you're on about, and I don't think you do either. To cover this you slag Bonzo and Q for pointing out the same thing I am.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM

I've no idea either, though I've tried 'bow'-ing up my TV and looking for a 'largess of the beast'. Is a 'largess' the female version of a 'large' and where should I begin to look?

Seems as if Slag hasn't yet taken enough hallucinogenics.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 01:47 PM

This sums it up for me, Slag.

When Frank Proffitt first heard Earl Scruggs, he is reported to have said, quite gently, "I'd like to be able to do that, and then not do it." (He admired Earl's innovations a lot.)

I generally feel that under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it is just the reverse."

My feelings about the negative aspects of the American approach is that there is so little time left over, after learning the sad ropes of it all, and then going crazily after the money, that we, as a culture, have no skills left that allow us to appreciate the fine aspects of this life we have.

For me, personally, I would much rather reach the age I am now having the ethic of Pete Seeger than end up like the corporate banking home-loan parasites that were arrested by the hundreds just yesterday.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 01:59 PM

And under the Taliban??


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: GUEST,Mike S
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 02:02 PM

It's just a view of 'the bigger picture'. Some see it, some don't, and some would rather not look. No-one said it was pretty.. Without capitalism there'd be no folk music as we know it, and I find that rather sad.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Def Shepard
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 02:08 PM

Thanks Geoff, i was beginning to wonder, though I have worked out the bit about if you're not part of the answer you're paart of the problem. As I said I am a performing musician, and horror of horrors!, I ACTUALLY get paid for it. To further compound my perceieved sin, I enjoy getting paid for what I do. Call me a capitalist if you like.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 03:57 PM

I always though a capitalist was somebody who gets paid for what other people do.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Def Shepard
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 04:03 PM

well I don't hve a problem with it, as it appears, some here do. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Slag
Date: 21 Jun 08 - 08:58 PM

Well maybe just call it the phenomenology of the corporate entity. It's a "thing" that emerges when the project gets to big for any one person. I was trying to make it a point of awareness of how pervasive the template is in virtually every aspect of human society. I guess you could even figure in ants and honeybees. Being aware of a pattern sometimes affords members within the pattern to function more effectively or to see more clearly how they can effect change and control,

My comments to Bonzo and Q were not intended to "slag" them. Perhaps I should leave humor to some more able readers. There was considerable "slag" headed my way though, wouldn't you say? Was it justified? Why the paranoia?


Yes Art. Great comment and observation. When the beast gets out of control there is blood to pay. Aware, you can sometimes avert catastrophe. I've never been much of a joiner and certainly not a "corporate man". I hated the military though I enjoyed my jobs and some of the individuals I met there. I wished I had this view point back in those years. Well, if it speaks to some, I'm glad. The effort was not in vain. If not, don't worry about it, Consumer or producer, musician or fan, different gears on the same machine,
Whether you are driving or riding, enjoy the ride.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:28 AM

The problem is not being paid for performing, but allowing the fact that you are being paid decide what and how you perform - in other words, becoming a cultural juke-box.
Some years ago there was a fascinating programme on Irish television entitled 'Has Folk Music Sold Out?' The point of it was to discuss the lengths performers had to go in order to earn a living.
One of Ireland's leading fiddle players spoke on how he had to adapt what he did to the requirements of his paymasters rather than decide for himself - classic example of the feller paying the piper/fiddler calling the tune. He said that it was almost impossible for an individual performer to make a living at playing alone - "you are forced to join a group". Fine if that's what you want to do, not so good if you don't.
The programme was some years ago, but last year in Dublin he confirmed to me that, despite the rise in the status of the traditional musician, this was still very much the case.
Thanks for the two wonderful quotes Art - they'll go in the book for future use.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 07:35 AM

Makes sense to me. An unusual perspective may yield new insights.

Do our cells know they are part of a human? Do our organs think of themselves as citizens of us? They do their part anyway, whether they think about it or not, and as long as most of them do a good job, the whole survives. We don't need to look at how our society works, as long as it's healthy... er... maybe we'd better look right away.

What are you part of? I'm in a lot of things. If you are in a marriage, or a band, or other partnerships in Slag's Stage 2, you probably think on an almost daily basis about your group entity and its needs and welfare. But do you think of it as a real thing, born, maturing, responding to the environment and relating to other such entities? Why not? Is not your group a real thing, as real as a folk song, or as a crowd with a shared purpose?

Is a corporation, institution, community, or other complex (Stage 3) organisation a real entity? They are born, grow, die. The way one such group meets needs and threats is often very different from the behaviours of other groups and from the individual behaviour of the humans it comprises. Group morale, values, and other emergent cultural properties are not under any individual's direct control.

Most song I can think of is about individual experiences, not taking corporate identity seriously (staying at the "We Are the Champions" level) or seeing organisations as unnatural and inimical (parasites and armies against the people). Can you think of any song with a group, alliance, community, or company ("Vive la Compagnie") described as an entity in its own right?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 11:26 AM

And, Jim Carroll, thanks for hearing what I actually said.

What I stated is my "ideal" situation. In real time and space, as I aged and grew more infirm, I chose to stay closer to home in order to take care of Carol's and my lives better--and to cut costs driving and lodging. Then, mainly by chance, I locked into, and also fit nicely into, gigs playing on Mississippi River steamboats 60 miles west of our home place --- and, also, shows in schools in the winter months -- mostly 100 miles east of us in Chicago and suburbs. (22 years of doing those.)

The rub? For both of those I had to compromise a bit to fulfill the expectations of the ones who were paying me. (I also played at many festivals on weekends.) Always, there were songs not fit for a certain venue. On the river jobs, for 10 years, I rarely sang about the Titanic's fate. ;-) In schools that song was fine if presented on a historical level. Is that common sense, or is it a compromise?

Many times I would revert to jokes or tall tales to set up a song. (I learned well from watching the master, Utah Phillips, use humor to make an audience receptive to a heavy topic.) Possibly that was compromising too!? So be it. I always never compromised the song as I felt it -- and those I'd learned it from -- as well as the collectors that found it. All had to be respected. Those people were NOT exploiters!!! They were passionate mission-driven people working towards a grail of sorts.---

Sorry for going on here like this. It's just my point of view. In the end, I made a sparse living. And I enjoyed the hell out of the doing of it. If I did a request like "The Tennessee Stud" in order to sell a few records, well, there you have it. J. Cash wasn't the only guy who ever "walked a line" of some kind!

Real alchemy was done by us folksingers. We sang into the wind----and turned it into the rent. (And you can quote me!)

Ah, the rent!
Always the bottom line. ;-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Art Thieme!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM

The statement is trying to find a connection between Capitalism and the working-class
part of folk. It's an apologist statement.

Stage 1. The Individual mentioned is a myth. The only way an individual can function
in an economy is through interaction with others and laws are made to determine the misnomer called the "Free Market". Laws govern the market and it is not "free".

Stage 2. What needs to be considered here is that the boss does not create the job.
The job is a necessity that is self-evident in any business. It's something that needs to be done. The worker fulfills the role. Therefore job "creation" is a myth.

Stage 3. The stockholder is never represented by the working-class who relinquishes his role as a worker to the degree that he holds the stock. He/she becomes a Capitalist.
These people are never represented in folk music because they are not working-class.
They may try to write songs that favor their status but are unsuccessful because they do not reflect working-class values such as the role of the worker in society that is exploited by some corporations. You will generally historically find songs that are anti-corporate
in their sentiment as a result.

The Entity created in the eyes of the law as a corporation as person was predicated on an error, C. Bankroft Davis, the clerk in the case of Santa Rosa Vrs. the Railroad which established that the corporation should be thought of as a "person". Actually, this was never conclusive in this case. The clerk made an assumption in the writing of the case description which has been upheld by Supreme Courts ever since. In no way is the corporation a "person" as it claims and the idea of this hid behind the Amendment
banning slavery.

Many recording companies that offer folk music are sole proprietors and not licensed corporations. A corporation is a convenience for business (tax breaks) and is not always a negative entity. Today, however, the corporation has overstepped its legal and moral authority to cheat the taxpayer. (Bear-Stearns, Enron, etc). The only folk music you will find is against the "companies" that do the damage.

It does not follow that corporate control is a family value. The bible states an authoritarian claim that is often used as a pretext for protecting corporations.

A fan of folk music is not necessarily just a "consumer". Folk music per se is not
a corporation or if it becomes a business, then it is associated with show business.
Even if it has this association, it does not define the label "folk music" which is often
outside the show business model.

The rules governing "show business" regardless of rock and roll or pop music has its own set of values but do not necessarily pertain to folk music. The mother who lulls the baby to sleep with a lullaby is singing a folk song often. This has nothing to do with "consumerism".

Control enters the picture when show business requires that the label "folk music" serves its purpose.

It is important to make these distinctions between the "consumerism" of music and the nature of folk music in its entirety.

The beautiful thing about Mudcat is that it is concerned not with just the show biz aspects of what is called folk music, but that it is interested in the entire nature of the music in itself.

A lot of statements pass through this place and some have merit but most have at least the enthusiasm for the subject. I see folk music as a face-value label, the music sung by people who don't consume it but sing and play it because it is our heritage and through it, we gain an identity as who we are as people and how we are tied to our country historically. I find that when I teach folk music to people, consumerism is the last thing on their minds. They want the connection.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:08 PM

Frank, as always, thanks.

You connected. Possibly, what I did was sort of an example----of what you just said. One way or another.

Best to Mary,

Art


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:04 PM

Long ages ago, ants and bees living and working with their sisters divided their work in a new way: one gathering food, another laying eggs; and there came to be a new life form under the sun. A superorganism composed of many insects divides the tasks of eating, digestion, storage, defense, housekeeping, and reproduction. Individuals' bodies now permanently shape themselves for a single role in the colony. Workers make a good living at their jobs, far outnumbering their cousins in non-social species.

Humans think, plan, and choose very differently from insects, but we have also discovered the advantages of division of labour. Our nations, guilds, or corporations behave in infantile ways: devouring without restraint, fouling their beds, lashing out in a blind rage. But are they capable of maturing? Will this planet's fierce limits give more adaptable and foresighted collectives a competitive advantage? Once more, Earth has evolved a new kind of life form. This isn't a matter of job security: this is heady stuff. What songs shall we sing about choosing to be part of things greater or more terrifying than our single selves?

Wait a bit, I've got to put something in rhyme...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: glueman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:49 PM

'When Frank Proffitt first heard Earl Scruggs, he is reported to have said, quite gently, "I'd like to be able to do that, and then not do it."

Brilliant response to 3-finger Bluegrass.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:09 PM

I put some lyrics in a new thread which I temerariously titled with "Song challenge:"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:31 PM

Unless we are attempting to create a new world in the (free range egg) shell of the old, we are always making accommodations with capitalism.

It doesn't stop the best of what we are doing sound bloomin' marvellous, though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Grab
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 08:45 PM

As far as the "moneymaking monster" goes, that's a classic fallacy.

Yes, you are only playing a single role in a much larger organisation. That's not necessarily a bad thing though - although I could play the parts that the other guitarist and bassist play in the band, I can't play them at the same time as I'm playing my guitar, so we're all needed to make that sound. And if the drummer misses a beat somewhere, or if one of the guitarists misses a chord change, we can usually cover for it. More radically, if one of the guitarists quit, we could find another guitarist. But if all of us decided we'd had enough, the band would cease to exist.

A company is only a standalone entity from a legal point-of-view. In practical terms, it's only as good as its members. If you've got a huge company, people can probably come and go as they please, especially at the lower levels, without changing much. But the further up the tree you go, the more important the decisions are. The irony is that top management involvement rarely helps things, but it's quite easy for top management to undermine the company and morale, and things go right downhill as a result. Or higher management overrule lower management (or the men at the coalface) and say "we're going to do this anyway", and again things go wrong. A successful top management is more likely to be one that says "I'd like us to be here; tell me if it's achievable, and how we'd do it" and then lets people make it happen. That's few and far between, as far as I can tell.

It's easy to see the difference though - look at what works. Why is it that Japanese companies can set up car plants in the US and UK and make a profit, where American and British companies have all crashed and burned? They have the same people doing the lower-level jobs, after all. The answer can only be with management - in other words with a structure that lets people at the coalface do their jobs effectively, producing something which meets the market's needs with the required level of quality and at the right price. Yes, this ensures the best performance of the corporate entity - but it's also the only way of ensuring that those people at the coalface continue to have jobs next year.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 05:27 AM

"The irony is that top management involvement rarely helps things, but it's quite easy for top management to undermine the company and morale, and things go right downhill as a result."

Yes, but there are rare exceptions like Ray Anderson. After he started thinking about how his carpet company Interface Inc could be a better corporation, he turned it into a world leader in sustainability.


Stringsinger, I didn't see the original posts as a working-class apologist statement. While expressing deep suspicion about what we've created, I thought Slag was making an honest attempt to understand and discuss certain important aspects of our situation which are too rarely examined. He oversimplified as needed to make his point. By the same token, though, we ought to examine how our biases may shape our ability to understand, and I appreciated your help with that.

M


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Vin2
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 08:17 AM

Maybe it's enough to accept (if only everyone did) that no-one on this small rock in space can 'do it' on their own. Trouble is too many people either won't, don't, can't or refuse to believe that.

I firmly believe (and have been accused of being pedantic by some) that there is no such animal as a 'self-made millionaire' - take note Alan Sugar.

Having said that, you could pick up a piece of bamboo, cut a hole here and there and produce some luvly tunes and sing aswell but then you'd need nature's help a bit i suppose, but then are we not all a part of the natural process......i'll stop now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Flash Company
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 11:09 AM

Been away for two weeks, so I am late to the party, basically I am going to agree with Slug and then carry it on a different track.

An Individual has an idea for making money, if the idea is a really good one, it will make lots of money , and go right on making money.

Because of this, no other idea is ever considered.

The original idea goes on generating money by inertia. (So far, so good)

After about 80 years of steady income, some young upstart says 'Couldn't you do this instead ?'

The Directors say 'We are not interested in new ideas, we have the original big idea!' So the young upstart goes and starts his own company, and in about three years time the Big Idea is history.

I worked for one company where this happened, and retired from another one where I feel sure it will happen before long!

Brian Q


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Grab
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 11:36 AM

Alan Sugar is the best example of how *not* to run a business that I can see.

Where has all his money come from? Simple answer: property investing. Effectively, he threw a bunch of money at people putting up buildings, they went off and did what they did best (namely putting up buildings), and he got a nice cut of the profits.

But every time Alan Sugar has got directly involved, it always seems to go bad. His original money came from computers (the "PC-lite" systems back in the early 80s). But those were very much produced to a cost, and everyone knew they were cheap and nasty, and Sugar never put anything significant into taking them further. So when it was clear they were going down, he sold them - at a profit admittedly. But then he decided to build email phones, which no-one wanted. And then set-top boxes, which have gone under too.

If anyone wants to be someone's apprentice, I'd have to say you'd be better choosing someone who's actually succeeded in a big way. Alan Sugar ain't it, as far as I can see.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM

I heard someone recently quote a saying to the effect that a millionaire says he's self-made until he's arrested for embezzling, then it's the fault of his environment.

I suspect one reason the capitalist idea so quickly became a dogma or ideology - supporters often arguing more from faith than reason ("the invisible hand of the marketplace," &c.) - is that a decentralised market *looks* as if it should work without regulation, as do natural processes. Its intuitive appeal is so strong that whole schools of economics spring up to explain away the horrible real-world consequences of an unfettered marketplace. (Of course, the ability of this system to concentrate vast amounts of revenue also fuels the support.)

If some day a self-regulating marketplace can exist, it would need more diversity to be sustainable. As long as non-money values and untradable resources "don't count," the market sees (and rewards) the plunder of those intangible externalities as "creation" of wealth.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: semi-submersible
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 07:20 PM

Stringsinger, I have a few more quibbles:

" Stage 1. The Individual mentioned is a myth. The only way an individual can function in an economy is through interaction with others"

Free Will may be a myth, but the Individual is a useful concept. Of course the line between one and one's environment is blurred (our physical selves change with every breath, sup, or dump, and our other aspects change with each experience and action) but each particular person embedded in an economy (inter)acts as an individual.

At the same time, our individual actions will also belong to our various collective entities. (One may simultaneously sing as an individual, perform as a band, earn, consume, and opine as a population, et cetera.)


" Stage 2. What needs to be considered here is that the boss does not create the job. The job is a necessity that is self-evident in any business. It's something that needs to be done. The worker fulfills the role. Therefore job "creation" is a myth."

The job is an opportunity (a potential niche, if you wish) resulting from action and inaction of various entrepreneurs, customers, legislators, neighbours, etc. This need may or may not be filled. Under different circumstances it would not have existed, at least in this form. Slag didn't say the boss "creates" jobs, just that at the second stage of complexity you need to share the work and profit with other individuals.


Stage 3, working-class vs stockholders, "never represented in folk music"

Funny, that. Any aspect of human experience could choose singing as its means of expression, but sad, lonely, and angry are overrepresented.

Interesting history re origin of corporation as "person" in USA.

I really like how you point out that folk music is more participatory than most forms of show business and thus resists being turned into a commodity. I wonder how effectively blogs, wikis, and new alternate info-sharing networks may be able to resist centralised control and commodification of news and information?

Maureen Parrott


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jun 08 - 07:53 PM

Frank:

The job is indeed something that needs getting done; but I have seen an awful lot of people glad to have jobs that would not have existed if a small handful or a single entrepreneur had not bitten the bullet and started a commercial activity and made it start running so it could support paying out a few salaries, and then synchronizing those so a few more could be afforded and choosing well, which of the many possible jobs that could be added would be the right ones to add when.

There's more risk in agreeing to hire someone than there is in agreeing to be hired by someone. It's the nature of the beast, at least in the way this society has evolved. Either side can walk away if things go to hell, but the owner owns the liabilities. And the repute of failure.

This is in no way to disagree with your basic tenets about the crookedness of "free-market dynamics" in a capitalist society, but just trying to offer both sides of the story.


A


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jun 08 - 04:03 AM

Let's not run away with ourselves.
Money, commercialism, call it what you will, has done far more damage to folk music than it has done good. We're still living with and trying to mop up the mess left by the 'folk' and 'ballad' booms of forty-odd years ago.
There is nothing basically 'wrong' with people being paid for singing, writing, teaching... whatever, the subject, but let's not forget that the folk song revival was based on dedicated amateurs who went off to a 'real' job the following morning. Its strength was that it empowered us to call the shots rather than the music industry.
One of the disturbing features of the present wave of popularity of Irish music is evident here locally is that an advisory traditional music group has been set up, not to help people to appreciate, enjoy, understand, play, sing, find the stuff - but whose main aim seems to be 'how to become a professional and market yourself'.
People will find their own destinies without the help of those using terms like 'the marketplace' and 'cultural tourism' in relation to our music - note 'our' music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 24 Jun 08 - 06:09 AM

'When Frank Proffitt first heard Earl Scruggs, he is reported to have said, quite gently, "I'd like to be able to do that, and then not do it."'

This reminds me of a comment by a certain well-known folkie, having just heard another well-known folkie play a jig at breakneck speed:

"I wish I had the technique to do that - and the musical sense not to"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Folk Music & Capitalism
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jun 08 - 06:19 AM

Or the great veteran Clare fiddle-player 'Junior' Crehan commenting on two young high-speed merchants who turned up at the local session;
"They'll be great musicians when they're too old to move that fast".
Jim Carroll


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