History

Socialist Cybernetics

A stylish dream of economic control fails in Salvador Allende's Chile

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Credit: Reason Magazine

In 1973, while the body of socialist President Salvador Allende was still warm, military officers ransacked La Moneda, the Chilean presidential palace. Inside, they found the operations room of what was supposed to be a cutting-edge experiment in computer-assisted economic control, the heart of the controversial CyberSyn project. As one of the junta's first acts under martial law, they destroyed it.

The system, designed by British cybernetician Stafford Beer, was supposed to allow powerful men to make decisions about production, labor, and transport in real time using up-to-the-minute economic information provided directly by workers on the factory floors of dozens of newly nationalized companies. As artist Greg Borenstein and historian Jeremiah Axelrod explained in a paper delivered at the 2009 Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association Conference, the room offered "the illusion of occupying an omniscopic perspective, from which the marketplaces and factories beyond La Moneda's walls were rendered not only visible, but legible." 

In fact, the network that fed the system was little more than a series of jury-rigged Telex machines with human operators, transmitting only the simplest data, which were slapped onto old-style Kodak slides—again, by humans. The controls on the chairs merely allowed the operator to advance to the next slide. Thus Allende's death ended two intertwined Cold War fever dreams of control in Chile: cybernetics and socialism.

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  1. Socialism, this time we promised to actually implement it correctly. We promise.

    1. The Zeitgeist freaks are ready to go.

      1. Capitalism, this time we promised to actually implement it correctly. We promise.

        1. Try a free market instead.

        2. Capitalism, even when abused and mishandled, still doesn’t starve, murder or repress half as well as socialism does.

        3. Capitalism isn’t implemented. It’s just what people do.

          1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? SOMEBODY HAS TO BE IN CHARGE!!!

            1. That would be us.

        4. Capitalism does not have to be implemented, or tried. Aside from protecting property rights, government doesn’t have to do anything. But throughout history, someone in government has been tryign to implement something else, often socialism. What there is of capitalism has performed amazingly well considering this handicap.

  2. Hooray for the Panopticon, dream of all control freaks.

    1. The capitalist panopticon is wonderful!

      Google does it all for us now.

      1. Hey, are we chopped liver now?

      2. In Soviet Russia, panoptic- OWNS you!

  3. If the court will notice, the log plainly shows the defendant’s finger pressing the jettison button. The condition signal reads yellow alert. Not red alert, but simply yellow alert. When the pod containing President Salvador Allende was jettisoned, the emergency did not as yet exist!

    1. I keep expecting to see the Thunderbirds walk in.

    2. You gotta love how Kirk’s ex-girlfriend tried to kill him. Then makes out with him on the bridge.

  4. How did you get a picture of my den?

    1. How did you get a picture of my den?

      You forgot the shag carpeting.

      1. Orange shag carpeting rules.

        1. Only when matched up with green shag in a checkerboard pattern.

          (Remembers childhood, shudders…)

          1. When we bought our first house, we saw “One of Each” –

            1) Orange carpet and counter, dark cabinets…in the KITCHEN…
            2) “Avocado” appliances and countertop kitchen…
            3) “70’s Yellow” appliances and countertop kitchen…

            Misc shags in a couple of the living rooms/”dens” (remember those?).

            It was so awesome, I took pics. My parents only went as far as bad-but-not-horrid green carpet in the living room for a couple years, which was soon changed to the tasteful Neutral Babyfood color that’s still there today.

            Growing up in the 70’s – good times, good times…

            1. PS, no we did not buy any of the above, finally settling on a decent little 70’s ranch done up in various fairly-neutral colors. Not very daring…

            2. I’ve been slowly killing off the 70s-vibe in my current house. The “Holly Hobby” wallpaper upstairs, the swinging saloon-style door leading to the second story bathroom, the jolly boat wheel light fixtures in the basement, and the pink wallpaper in the main floor pink-tiled bathroom with the hanging globe light fixtures.

              At first I felt like I was in a Kojak set, but things are better now.

              1. swinging saloon-style door

                *swoons*

                1. yeah, that goes to a BATHROOM. *shudder*

            3. Bedroom as a child

              Green shag
              Dark wood desk and dresser
              Painted orange chair rail, trim, and closet door
              Green and orange vertically striped wallpaper below
              Green and orange sailboat wallpaper on top
              Dark wood horizontal slat window shades

              So so wrong, probably explains my various tics

              1. Got that beat, my room circa 1976:

                RED, WHITE & BLUE shag – check
                Corkboard wall – check
                Multiple KISS posters pinned to the above – check
                Turntable/8-Track/AM-FM 4 speaker combo stereo – check
                Twenty something inch BLACK & WHITE console TV – check

                and then in ’77 along came Punk Rock…. and my tastes changed considerably

            4. One and two were in the split-level I spent ages 2-9 in.

              1. Yeah, we grew up in a “tri-level”. What a STUPID fucking design. My mom still has it.

                I have to say, my bedroom is still EXACTLY as it was when I left – nice wood floor (with the paint stains from when I was making an airplane model and spilled it), Ethan Allen desk, plain twin bed, tannish semi-gloss paint, and one part of one wall that’s recessed = not-really-bad wallpaper of Old Skool Scottish people golfing.

                I don’t play golf, but…

                1. I hate post war houses. I would love to bulldoze every ranch and tri level in existence.

            5. . . . Avocado” appliances and countertop kitchen . . . Growing up in the 70’s – good times, good times…

              You and I are probably about the same age then. When I was little, we lived in base housing (dad was a career Navy officer), which had been built in the ’40s, and thus didn’t have under-counter space for a dishwasher in the kitchen. So, they went out and bought a portable unit, avocado green, that rolled away when not in use. You had to hook hoses up to the kitchen sink, somehow.

              Yep, the memories . . .

        2. I was but a wee sprout during those halcyon days, so I don’t know what it would’ve been like to have sex on shag carpeting, or even in bed in a room furnished with it. I have to believe the experience was sublime, though, and more than made up for the fact that women didn’t shave back then.

          1. it was carpeting, all the way down.

            1. . . . all the way down

              Something I’d have completely ruled out, had I come of age sexually in the ’70s.

          2. The carpet burns cant possibly be worse than the cheap shit that was in college apartments in the late 90s.

            1. Try losing two hits of purple microdot in shag carpeting. Luckily, my teenage eyesight was able to recover both. I took one hit prior to an REO Speedwagon/Sweet concert. Good times…

  5. Top Men. I will cut Allende some slack. It was 1973. People still didn’t fully understand what a failure command and control economies were. What the hell is people’s excuse now?

    1. What the hell is people’s excuse now?

      Most people still don’t fully understand what a failure command and control economies are.

      1. True. But how can you be that ignorant? I guess if your only source of information is the New York Times and Howard Zinn, you get a pretty fucked up perspective on things.

        1. Indoctrination, resulting in starting from false axioms, leading to absurd results that seem to follow logically, followed by rationalizations.

          That’s why statists (right or left) don’t repeal bad law, that put bad patches on it designed to fix the unintended consequences, because it just doesn’t occur to them that, say, minimum wage laws are a bad idea that disproportionately harm poor minorities.

          1. I was thinking about that the other day. I think there are two types of bad thinking that plague our society. First, people assume that others are incapable of acting in their own interests. And second, they assume there is some way to eliminate every bad result. All right thinking people look at government policy as a way to keep people from acting against their own interest and ensuring that no one ever bears the consequences for a failed risk or bad decision. Any solution to any problem that accepts individual autonomy as an unqualified good and accept that “results may vary” is immediately dismissed out of hand.

            1. It’s like arguing with Objectivists or conservatives who want a market economy for everything but government and policing and law, where they’ve been indoctrinated into thinking that those are different, and those can only be supplied by a monopoly. The subsequent predictable failure caused by those monopolies, and the expansion to a huge overbearing government, are seen as separate problems amenable to being patched somehow, rather than the predictable consequence of the initial monopolies — the initial socialist exceptions that swallows up everything else in monopolies.

              1. Any solution to any problem that accepts individual autonomy as an unqualified good and accept that “results may vary” is immediately dismissed out of hand.

                I am going to guess that you are not going to take your own advice and accept individual autonomy as an unqualified good for governance or personal security or dispute arbitration, because your axioms are that these are different, here “we” have to let the majority pick those for us, a winner take all monopoly where you are not allowed to opt out and provide for those yourself, because these are somehow different than buying bread or cars or fire insurance.

                1. You can have that system. But if there is no government to enforce the rules, “autonomy” just becomes freedom for whomever has the guns and the force to take it.

                  If you want to have market based law enforcement, great. I plan to come to your house, shoot you and rape your wife and take your stuff. If you plan to defend yourself, no worries, I will just get my friends and form a gang. What are you going to do about it? Form your own gang and we can spend the rest of our lives trying to kill each other working for an advantage.

                  1. This is exactly why I am not an anarchist, or any flavor thereof. As a fifty-ish man with gout and bad teeth I have no illusions where I would end up in the inevitable dog-pile. Somewhere near the bottom, whimpering.

                    Government is like fire. It’s hard to be comfortable without it in some form, but you have to keep an eye on it.

              2. Not every country that has had a monopoly of force has become a police state. And countries that lack a monopoly of force almost invariably descend into chaos.

                If the government doesn’t own a monopoly of force, who has the power? The answer is those who have the most force and are the most willing to use it. In say 1789 Paris, that was the Parisian street mob. In say 14th Century England and France, that was whatever local thug or band of mercenaries happened to be around.

                I don’t really see how there is a market in killing people or enforcing the law. The law is whatever who is big enough and bad enough says it is. If no state is strong enough to suppress all competitors to get a monopoly, you end up with constant civil war as those competitors try and enforce their will on each other.

                1. Privatization of the Police Force:
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6CkltzGAxY

                  1. GREAT MOMENTS IN COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

                    Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness …”

                    “Ahh, that’s enough for tonight, I think I’ll go rape my slave Sally Hemmings, finish this in the morning.”

                    John at 2:05 pm: “Any solution to any problem that accepts individual autonomy as an unqualified good and accept that “results may vary” is immediately dismissed out of hand.”

                    Protefeed: “Including the current government monopolies on law and police and the use of force in general? Shouldn’t those also be subject to individual autonomy, since that is an unqualified good?”

                    John: * dismisses out of hand *

                    1. Then I suppose in some ways it is not an “unqualified good”. But it is close. But in the extremes the rules change. Show me one example in history where the central government lost its monopoly of force that didn’t degenerate into violence and bloodshed? I can’t think of one. And I can think of dozens of examples to the contrary.

                      The fact is that some people are naturally violent. And in an environment where there are is governmental monopoly of force, those types of people have the most power.

                      Think about the illegal drug trade. The reason why prohibition causes so much harm is that it creates an entire industry outside the realm of law enforcement. Drug dealers can’t go to the cops when someone rips them off. So they have to rely on their own capacity for violence.

                    2. You talk about privatizing and marketizing law enforcement. Well, we have a real life example of that. The illegal drug trade. And it has resulted in unrelenting violence.

                    3. …does not a sociopolitical typology example make.

                      Try again.

                    4. It makes a perfect example. You have an entire industry where there is no police force and no monopoly of government force. If you are a drug dealer and someone doesn’t pay you or rips you off, you can’t call the cops. That is all organized crime is; a police department for people who can’t call the cops.

                    5. And there is no specific degrees indicated, so we assume 100% of a general idea- very political and unrealistic.

                      petit abeille :

                      Our government reeks of rotten things, but the freedoms it does give us, and the quality of life is at least one hand above other countries.

                      So its the price we pay for shaking hands with the devil.

                      The problem is the individual is nearly impossible to cater to in the context of the masses.

                      Do you think we were better off when there was less of an influence of government as the, let’s say 1880s when you fended for yourself on the most part?

                      Certainly, the population was controlled more so.

                      I would venture to say things were pretty much the same…but you were less likely to be caught committing crimes against others.

                      AND

                      John at 2:05 pm:
                      extremely weak close

                      🙂

                      Happy rainbows to everyone !

                    6. Thomas Jefferson: Vampire Hunter

                      of course quotes always represent the most clever/witty/poignant ideas ..but we are always flawed, hypocritical.

                    7. Do you think we were better off when there was less of an influence of government as the, let’s say 1880s when you fended for yourself on the most part?

                      Controlling for technological advances that have bettered life, yes, I would prefer to live right now under federal and state governments downsized to do only what those governments did in the 1880s (minus the racist laws).

                      No nanny state. No income tax. No begging for permission to build or modify a house on your own land. No War on Drugs — go to a drugstore and buy any drugs you want over the counter. Grow weed openly in your backyard. No hundreds of thousands of regulations telling you what kind of business you can run. Food carts openly selling bacon wrapped hot dogs. And so on.

                    8. You can’t have a free market without a government that is based on the protection of individual rights. This may involve police privatization, so long as the law system is under the sole aegis of the state.

                2. I have to agree with John here, mostly. While I am pretty close to anarchist philosophically, I can’t imagine an anarchy situation where a government doesn’t just happen. And I’d rather have a government that is somewhat tempered by democracy than one that arises simply as the strongest gang. The one thing that comes close to justifying government to me is that a monopoly on force largely discourages people from settling disputes by killing each other in the street.

                  1. While I am pretty close to anarchist philosophically, I can’t imagine an anarchy situation where a government doesn’t just happen.

                    Most North Koreans also can’t imagine a situation where the government food production and distribution also doesn’t just happen.

                    Let’s take the current situation, and add two * minor * changes — involuntary taxation is abolished, and government services must be financed by voluntary subscriptions, for example, with the full right to opt out of paying for government police and instead provide for your own protection however you choose.

                    Better or worse than what we have now?

                    If you say better, well, guess what — that’s anarchic for any individual who opts out of all government services.

                    I imagine there’s plenty of left- and right-statists who wouldn’t opt out — initially.

                  2. The one thing that comes close to justifying government to me is that a monopoly on force largely discourages people from settling disputes by killing each other in the street.

                    Tell that to the residents of Oakland or DC, or to the people killed by SWAT teams kicking down doors on drug raids. Or to the disputes over taxation settled by the government locking up the people protesting having half or more of their income stolen. Or …

                3. “countries that lack a monopoly of force almost invariably descend into chaos”

                  Not at all sure I buy this one.

              3. Of an agricultural city-State (civilization) without government?

                No?

                Who’s indoctrinated now?

                1. STFU rather.

                    1. Sorry you can’t get laid rather. Or when you do it is with liberal guys with gender and sexual orientation issues.

                    2. Projects his sexual frustrations on the intertubes.

                2. Use a fucking handle!

                  1. I did use a handle.

                    Then Fibertarians stole it and spoofed me.

                    So these are the consequences, shit for brains.

              4. How is the use of force NOT different from other products and services?

                If you allow competing protection services, how do you keep it from relapsing into a monopoly as, say, a protection service that protects intellectual property rights has to go to war with one that defends a person’s right to pirate software and music? Protection services with different standards and different thoeries of rights will naturally find themselves in conflict with one another. In order to serve their customers, they have to actually put other protection services, whose policies are based on different political/economic theories, out of business.

          2. Indoctrination, resulting in starting from false axioms, leading to absurd results that seem to follow logically, followed by rationalizations.

            True; you well describes objectivism, anarcho-capitalism, libertarianism, liberalism, progressivism, marxism, austrianism, communism, etc.

            Some of the false axioms are:

            ? Man is above nature.
            ? The earth was made by God (or the Invisible Hand) for man to use up.
            ? Savages (dwellers of the silva, or woods) have it way worse, and are way worse people, than those inside the walls of the city.
            ? Mass society of agricultural city-Statism (civilization) is able to ignore “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates,” a.k.a., Dunbar’s Number.

            1. That’s why statists…

              Full Stop.

              You’re a statist (if you support civilization.)

              There are 4 primary sociopolitical typologies. 3 are Non-State, and include 1) Bands, 2) Tribes, 3) Chiefdoms (aka protostates.) The fourth is a State society, civilization (city-statism.)

            2. Rather,

              That is just nonsense and it has been explained to you about a hundred times why it is nonsense.

              1. Yes, man is not above nature. But that doesn’t mean what you think it means. That means each individual man is going to do what is in his best interest to survive and propagate. And that includes killing other men if necessary.

              2. If the earth wasn’t made by God, then there is no reason not to exploit it and use it up. There is no higher force to answer to. And there is no life after this one. Nothing personal against the birds and the bees, but we are smarter and more powerful, so we get to live. And some of them might not if their existence gets in our way. Such is the state of nature.

              3. Regardless of how savages lived, they had one advantage that we don’t have. There were not five billion of them. Only through civilization can you support a population this large.

              1. Nice going, John, you’re arguing like a regular socialist now.

                If we have 20 TRILLION humans piled on each other on earth, that’s even more better, right, shit-for-brains?

            3. Those who advocate primitavism advocate the mass extermination of the human race as we know it.

              And even if you do believe that such populations can be supported, you guilty of the same fallacy of communism, that is you think that you can transform man.

              Suppose it is true that primitives really were peaceful. So what? We are not primitives anymore. And man currently is anything but peaceful. Man is in fact violent as hell. There is no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Even by the terms of your crackpot theories, there is no way to make man into what he once was.

              Just take it elsewhere. It is nonsense. No one is going to believe it. And we are never going back to this mythical past you have imagined. Stop wasting your time rather.

              1. That is just nonsense and it has been explained to you about a hundred times why it is nonsense.

                No primitivist I know advocates mass extermination. But most I know do predict a mass dieoff from the consequences of stupidity.

                If you don’t know the difference, well….

                …you’re one of those stupid city-statists who can’t take personal responsibility for consequences. Typical.

                1. If there were a button I could press, I would sacrifice myself without hesitating, if it meant millions of people would die.

            4. ? Man is above nature.

              Are apex predators “above nature”?

              Can it be said that a critter which can learn new strategies in individual time as opposed to evolutionary time is “above nature”?

              Is domestication of plants & animals “above nature”?

              1. Your faith in the religious bullshit of Genesis 1:26-28 has been revealed.

                1. So you have no answers, just propaganda.

                  Thought so.

            5. Man is above nature

              Fuckin’ right we’re above nature.

        2. You’re assuming these people think at all. The overwhelming majority of them I’ve encountered have no information, nor do they have much of a drive to seek it out. “Everybody getting medical care sounds nice, let’s have more of that.” Emotion based reasoning if there’s any reason at all.

          1. True. Sort of like, everyone just living like a primitive and off the land sounds nice.

            1. Well, Rousseau put lots of efforts into the development of the Noble Savage myth.

    2. People still didn’t fully understand what a failure command and control economies were.

      Hayek published in the 30s and 40s.

      People knew.

      1. No one read Hayek. Some people knew. And yeah, they should have known. But people today have even less excuse.

        1. Anyone who was in the know read Hayek, and understood what it meant. Phyllis Schlafly once told me that when she was at Harvard, every professor on campus spent the two weeks leading up to Hayek’s visit there explaining why he was so very wrong.

          They got it, but it wasn’t to their liking.

          1. They definitely didn’t dig what he had to sell. And things like Darkness at Noon and 1984 had already been written. And the Gulag Archipelago was published in the West in 1971 I think.

            There really was no excuse for it. They just didn’t want to admit their life’s work was a failure. What is worse is they infected another generation with the same kind of thinking.

          2. The Intellectual Class of the West have been convincing themselves, for at least a century and a half, that they are placed on Earth by Providence to tell lesser mortals what to do. This places them on the same moral level as the Plantation Aristocrats and the Social Darwinists who had their chances to screw up first. To maintain their delusion they have found it necessary to ignore several inconvenient facts about the 20th Century. Like the tendency of Communist/Socialist revolutions to liquidate the Intellectual class fairly early.

  6. Wanking hard !

  7. I wonder if they had hot female assistants in silver dresses wandering around there.

    1. You mean the ones with the machine-gun jubblies?

      1. I prefer not to mix feminine hormonal shifts common to young women with onboard firearms. YMMV.

    2. I wonder if they had hot female assistants in silver dresses wandering around there.

      No but in order to enter the control room you have to have on your tunic and color matched side zip leather boots!

  8. Gentlemen! You can’t socialize in here, this is the Socialist Calculation room!

    1. +1 There is no socializing in the socialist room.

      1. …Dr. Strangelove.

        Go ahead, say you knew that.

        1. There is no fighting in the war room. Yes, that reference only gets made about four times a month on here rather.

          1. ANIMALS ARE TO BRED UND SLAUGHTERED

        2. There is no fighting in the war room. Yes, that reference only gets made about four times a month on here rather.

        3. Ha! I didn’t know that. I’ve only seen the last 15-20 minutes of that movie.

          Sounds like I need to pick it up over the weekend

          1. The first parts are really the best parts. Watch it.

            1. Sterling Hayden is priceless, as are Slim Pickens and George C. Scott.

              1. My favorite might be Colonol Bat Guano. “That’s private property”. “Try any preversions with me and I will blow your head off”.

        4. And the line is delivered by President Muffly to General Turginson and the Soviet Ambassador. Jesus Rather, you disappoint me.

  9. I so want one of those chairs. Put a touchscreen in the arm, hook it into the home network and control the house from my command chair. Oh, hells yeah.

    I wonder if a similar one is available on ebay…

    1. Kickstarter it. There must be 1000 other people who would pay $300-500 for one, then get yours for free.

      1. Not the worst idea I’ve ever heard.

      2. Brilliant bidness opportunity.

        I’d buy two – one for me, and another one for me to have in another room.

        Those chairs are the shit.

        1. What about one chair with wheels?

          1. Maybe for the PROLES.

            I can afford two chairs….

            *resumes drinking babies’ blood from crystal goblet fashioned by emaciated child laborers*

        2. So lets whip up a CAD drawing. I might know a guy who knows something about plastic chair production. I could probably whip up an IR controller integrated into the arm that would let you use an iPad or Android tablet as at least a universal remote.

          1. I’d go PlaySkool with the buttons. They don’t need to DO anything – it’s enough that they’re there.

            Yeah – I’d go PlaySkool

    2. This could be you.

      1. I want that.

  10. If your sector showed a decline, the chair would electrocute you. That’s motivation.

    1. Does the chair need to go into kill mode first? How about a moderate to sever jolt if production falls in the agricultural sector?

    2. Failure will not be tolerated.

      Good Thunderball reference!

  11. Someone had watched a lot of Star Trek reruns back in the day.

    1. I wonder if they all jerked back and forth in their badass chairs when the going got rough?

  12. Anyone with a name like Stafford Beer simply has to be Googled. So I did.

    Turns out he was a pioneer in something called “management cybernetics,” which is the use of cybernetics to manage stuff. Here’s a diagram he created of something he called a “cybernetic factory.”

    I’m thinking this guy was nothing more than the Foucault of the business world.

    1. Set the Constrained Markovian Radomizer to 11.

      1. No problem can withstand the computational might of my Homeostatic Ultrastability Loop!

        1. I wonder how many MBAs who learned this shit did the the business schools inflict upon society.

        2. No problem can withstand the computational might of my Homeostatic Ultrastability Loop!

          Well using my Hammersley?Clifford Theorem, I took your Homeostatic Ultrastability Loop and made it my bitch.

          1. Everything is my conditional probability register’s bitch.

            1. Life is truly just a sensory input of transient states … and beer.

              1. Beer’s transient, too – in, out, more in, more out…

        3. I had to know what a “Homeostatic Ultrastability Loop” was, but when Googling it the first result was “No problem can withstand the computational might of my Homeostatic Ultrastability Loop!”.

          Thanks a lot.

          1. That’s fantastic. You’re welcome!

            1. No it isn’t you McDonalds-Alan Volatility Feedback System!

              1. Ahh, just google Ross Ashby.

      2. I look at stuff like this diagram, and I start to think that maybe this is how cults get started.

        A simple-minded person could look at something like this (and maybe the guy’s writings) and start to think that therein lie the answers to some really deep questions. They sign on, wanting to learn more, thinking that this is the guy to provide those answers. Maybe this Beer fellow was something like the politician’s Marshall Applewhite, and that he could lead them to the creation of the socialist paradise they dream of.

        That “control room” in the photograph is not the product of a rational, ordered mind.

        1. Allende wanted to turn Chile into Cuba. He most certainly did not have an ordered and rational mind.

          1. In that remarkably similar article I posted below: http://forums.newspeakdictiona…..b765ec0e1b
            he wanted nothing like Cuba, he wanted super efficient socialism.

            1. That article quotes The Guardian. Sure he wanted “super efficient Socialism”. But he also nationalized all of the industry and allied with the Soviet Union. If his plan hadn’t eventually involved killing a lot of people, it would have been a first.

              1. John, I was talking about your Cuba comment. There was nothing efficient about Cuba at all and Castro never even tried.

            2. “Super-efficient socialism” is like super-romantic gang rape.

        2. I look at stuff like this diagram, and I start to think that maybe this is how cults get started.

          And people wonder how Wide Idiot started rolling down the road towards his madness?

      3. I’d love to see a clay-and-plywood mockup of that thing . . .

    2. 1. What’s a “homomorphic model” and
      2. Does one dare bend over in front of it?

      1. ::spends a few minutes stifling the giggles::

        OK. I’m fine now. Really.

        Just taking the words on their own merits, you have to assume that a “homomorphic model” has a one-to-one mapping between the components of the model and the parts of the thing modeled.

        Because that’s what “homomophism” means.

        In other words, if you couldn’t understand the thing you are modeling, you can’t understand the model.

        But don’t let that stop you: this is a cybernetic factory, comrade!

  13. The capitalist pigs will be forced to give us one billion dollars or we will vaporize their cities.

    1. Yeah, I am left kind of thinking that Allende just thought it would be wicked cool to have his own James Bond Villain’s Lair.

      1. It’s good to be the dictator. Needs more hollowed out volcano though.

        1. Yeah, I’d bet when Pinochet showed up, Allende was really wishing he’d sprung for the sharks with fricken’ laser beams attached to their heads.

  14. I can’t decide if it’s decor for a Mexican soap opera or a vintage Japanese sci-fi movie.

    1. And why can’t it be both?

      1. ah, I apologize for thinking in such a binary fashion!

  15. Interesting:

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/3…..ike-daisey

    ‘This American Life’ retracts episode about Foxconn’s iPad factories, says it was ‘partially fabricated’

    Mike Daisey meanwhile stands behind what he said:
    “I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.”

    1. So, if I were to say Mike Daisey rapes his mother on a nightly basis and keeps a stash of gay bestiality porn, can we just write that off as “dramatic license”?

      1. You’re just dramatizing to illustrate a larger point. Perfectly OK.

      2. STEVE SMITH VOUCH FOR ACCURACY OF RAPE CLAIMS!

      3. All good as long as no references to “Sheep Fucking” are included!

    2. I hate these fuckers who purport to tell the full story, yet use “artistic license” to distort reality in pursuit of what is the “real truth of the matter”.

      As long as they call it fiction, I don’t care, but the political “essay” has turned into nothing more than lies to support their viewpoints.

      1. But we’re building SCHOOLS, [or not] and I was detained by TERRORISTS, [or not] and we have GOOD INTENTIONS…[or not]…so…[or not]

      2. This.

        I’d had a hunch that Daisey was full of bullshit to begin with, but if Apple is as bad as people say it is, you shouldn’t need artistic license for anything, much less the most provocative parts.

        Kudos to This American Life for actually trying to verify the story and then issuing a retraction/apology.

        1. From what I see, they are actually going to run a story on how they were duped. I’ll be impressed (really) if they do.

          1. So, FWIW, I listened to that show in its entirety (I listen to all TAL podcasts). It was one of the most uncomfortable shows in any genre I’ve listened to. You could tell Ira Glass was pissed, and Daisey’s equivocation came off extremely poorly.

            While I’m aware that unbiased journalism is an unattainable standard, PRI definitely behaved responsibly, and you could tell they were genuinely upset about misrepresenting the facts.

      3. Unbiased reporting is an myth. It was always a myth. Read Mencken’s autobiographical work if you doubt this. It is not possible for human beings to report without bias, and trying to look like they do reduces what they write to unreadable pap.

        Nor dies it seem like there was a time when any but the largest cities supported two money-making newspapers. There were often two or more; one had the government notice-printing contract (and made money) and the others were usually owned by somebody with political aspirations who belonged to the other Party.

        But you could still get multiple POVs.

    3. Sounds like my kinda documentary!

  16. OT: Major RED FLAG: Military Cover-up in Afghanistan
    http://www.michaelyon-online.c…..nistan.htm

    Info just coming out that a 22-year-old Marine was murdered on 01 Feb, about 6 weeks ago, in another insider attack. The military covered it up as if it were combat operations. Lance Cpl. Edward J. Dycus of Greenville, Mississippi was shot in the back of the head by an Afghan soldier. Our people immediately turned over the murderer to the Afghans.

    1. Quickly becoming a shit sandwich. I say we leave tomorrow.

      1. I think we should stay, we’ve almost brought them into the 13th century. In another hundred years, they’ll be Renaissance men.

      2. BUT COLLAPSE INTO ANARCHY ZOMGIRRESPONSIBLEYOUBREAKITYOUFIXIT…wait, what? It’s already basically anarchy? Always has been?

        Never mind – leaving today is good.

  17. It’s almost like Star Trek, isn’t it?

    TNG, anyway?

    That’s why I had such a hard time dealing with Star Trek after the first series.

    That socialist room looks like what Star Trek would have looked like if it had been produced in the mid-’70s a la Space: 1999.

    1. Roddenberry totally ripped this off.

    2. . . . a la Space: 1999.

      Ever had something mentioned in passing that jogged an old, old memory? Something you hadn’t thought of in decades? When you said Space: 1999, I realized I had watched that show as a very young child. And I’m almost certain I had a toy “Eagle” spaceship (which would undoubtedly be worth tens of millions of dollars today, had I kept it).

      1. That was a bad-ass spaceship, whatever the flaws of the series. My brother had a toy version of that that was almost as big as he was.

        1. Yep, it was definitely big, I remember that much.

  18. In fact, the network that fed the system was little more than a series of jury-rigged Telex machines with human operators, transmitting only the simplest data, which were slapped onto old-style Kodak slides?again, by humans. The controls on the chairs merely allowed the operator to advance to the next slide.

    So, TSA was pretty much modeled after this. Bitchin!

  19. Looks pretty good- for work done by a bunch of nerdy 12 year olds trying to build their own Enterprise set.

    1. We used carboard boxes with christmas lights stuck in grids, an old recliner and 13 inch black and white set that only got channel 7.

      1. So it was YOU who stole our blueprints!

        1. We also had a tinfoil Cylon helmet, instead of a red light we had a red marble that rolled back and forth in a slot.

      2. “13 inch black and white set that only got channel 7.”

        I was trying to explain UHF/VHF to a 13 year old the other day, and he kind of got it via the FM/AM analogy, but I’m not sure he believed me that there were only 13 possible channels on the one dial, 3 of which worked. And then after that, they had a bunch more, but it was usually on a second dial.

        1. “Dials” that about says it all.

          1. Yeah. He looked at me like a dog watching a card trick. No idea what I was doing, but he knew he was supposed to pretend to pay attention.

        2. ABC, NBC and CBS on the UHF dial and usually one local station playing reruns, old movies and the local broadcast of the local major league team, and PBS on the VHF dial.

          Ladies and gentleman, your 1970s television.

          1. Shit, that was my television until like 1988. Except the networks had moved to VHF. My family were not exactly early adopters.

        3. Did you tell him about wearing an onion on your belt, because it was the fashion?

    2. I mad a potato battery.

      And I made a simple calculator out of a shoe box, copper pegs, some wire and some Christmas lights.

      1. Now I lol’ed….cause, yeah, I made a tater battery.

        lulz – fucking SCIENCE class, how I loved you!

      2. I made a lemon battery and it kicked the potato battery’s ass.

  20. Tell me again why Pinochet is supposed to be the reviled Chilean leader?

    1. Earth tones.

    2. Think of it this way. In November 2012 you may have to choose between Barry and Ricky. Everything’s relative in politics.

    3. Allende meant well?

      Personally, I feel free to revile them both.

    4. They are both supposed to be the reviled Chilean leader. There is no excusing Pinochet either.

      1. Pinochet is accused (not proven guilty of, accused) of killing something like 7,000 “opponents”. Given that he was, in essence, fighting a civil war (at the behest of his country’s legislative body) in a South American country, that number strikes me as remarkably restrained.

        1. His great “crime” is introducing elements of a free market to a Marxist economy. There is considerable dispute about the number of deaths too.

  21. More info here. Actually, almost the same info from 2008 plus background:
    http://forums.newspeakdictiona…..b765ec0e1b

  22. Oh no! A suboptimal proposal for the management of factory production! Thank God it was nipped in the bud.

    Obviously, this explains why it was necessary to kill pregnant women and give their babies over for secret adoptions by junta loyalists.

    I mean, throwing torture victims out of airplanes over the ocean so they can be shark chum is kind of a bad thing, maybe, depending on how you look at it, but this scheme could have seriously cut into profits, and that is verboten.

    1. Because the socialists never killed anyone. You are just pissed that the rightwing got to do that shit instead of you. And of course that they did such a piss poor job of making the place into an unlivable police state when compared to Cuba or the Soviet block.

      1. I think you’re confusing “socialist” with “Communist.” On purpose.

        Nobody elected Castro, or Stalin.

        Read some history. What happened in Chile has been extensively documented.

        1. Yes it is well documented. That includes Allende’s close alliance with Cuba and the Soviet Union, his mass expropriation of property and his general disregard for civil liberties.

          Pinchot was an asshole. But Allende and especially his supporters were no better.

          1. Yeah. This a$$hole John probably thinks Venezuela would be better off with one of those Condor cone-juntas than Chavez, and would be happy with a CIA-backed coup to make it happen. Thank God his side has lost, and keeps losing.

            We’ve got your number, sunshine.

            1. Things turned out a lot better for Chile in the end than they did for Cuba or pretty much any communist country. And Venezuela couldn’t be any worse off.

              Yeah sweetie you have my number. Sorry, I am still not gonna fuck you no matter how many times you call.

              1. The true face of the Libertarian Right. The mask slips. They pose like a bunch of “non-aggressors,” until they come storming down with pitchforks in defense of the Nazi-war-criminal hiding Latin American juntas. Everything the Left suspected about “Uncle Milty” in Chile was true.

                Nobody believes in freedom, least of all a so-called “Libertarian.” All is power. So get them before they get you.

                1. No one but the voices in your head have defended Pinochet here. They have only said the Latin left was just as bad and in many cases worse.

                  1. Fool us once, shame on you…

                    1. Rather,

                      Now you are just blathering.

                    2. The worst mistake you can make with somebody who claims to be a “non-aggressor” is to take him at his word.

                    3. It is tough world out there honey. It is generally filled with people you don’t want to meet. Be glad you live in a nice big, safe country where being stupid generally doesn’t get you killed.

                    4. (N.B. John assumed “we” is a female – not actually true)

                    5. Oh sweetie, I know you are a female.

                    6. (this explains why John has so many crying-game-type embarrasments when he goes out drinking)

                2. Hey asshole, if you’ve got something to say, then say it to my uncle, who was arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for “profiteering” because he owned a shop and canvassed for conservatives against Allende.

                  1. So, does your uncle think he got sweet, sweet revenge?

                    1. No, revenge would be complete if it were you rich white American fucks who had everything they own (including whatever laptop/iPad/iPhone thing you’re using to comment here) taken from them, and then were thrown into a Chilean prison for 3 years. I’m sure the other prisoners would love to hear your idiotic Chomskyite blather about the merits of South American Stalinists. I fucking hope that some day you’ll be carrying everything you could pack into a suitcase to the airport, trying to push your way through the mob to get on the last flight out.

                    2. I’m not female, or rich, but I am white. Rick is a slightly better guesser than John.

                    3. American = rich, buddy-o. Didn’t say you were a female, but that’s probably for the best since Marxo-females generally have gravel in their vaginas and have an oddly Victorian attitude where they scream “rape!” if you look at their ankles.

                3. in defense of the Nazi-war-criminal hiding Latin American juntas

                  AHAHAHAHHA Attention: you’re an idiot. It was a leftist Argentinian junta that hid most of the ex-Nazis.

                  1. Try to keep up. The comment was about the juntas collectively. And Argentina’s junta was not “leftist.”

                    1. Peronism’s influence waxed and waned, but the junta was definitely not free-market but statist.

            2. Venezuela would be better off with one of those Condor cone-juntas than Chavez

              And that is absolutely true. They would be better off with anybody who isn’t Chavez. Even Tebow.

              1. (even Assad?)

        2. Moron there are communist parties in France, Italy etc. and they have gotten sizable votes in the past. The difference between communism and socialism is not whether they are voted for or not.

        3. Communism is international socialism while Fascism/Nazism, etc. is national socialism. Pretty sure John knows that. Do you?

        4. I used to travel to Chile and many other South and Central American countries back in the 1980s. Chile was the only one where I never had a gun pointed at me at some point. I did get to breathe some of Pinochet’s tear gas, though.

          I think Pinochet killed like 3,000 people over the 15-odd years he was in charge. Commie governments run that body count up before lunch.

          1. Chile had a population of barely ten million at the time. What Pinochet did would be the equivalent of a domestic regime killing ninety thousand Americans today, and torturing a multiple of that number.

            Only a few communist regimes exceeded that level of democide, and those that did usually ended up on the more pro-American side of the Sino-Soviet split.

            1. So the relevant metric is percentage of population, not actual deaths? So much for giving a shit about the individual. You only matter as part of the collective.

              1. Try this example, then: the governor of North Carolina (pop. approx. 10M) turns Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium into a prison; kills 3,000 North Carolinians; tortures untold numbers more; dumps victims into the ocean out of airplanes; murders pregnant women and gives the babies to the families of the state highway patrol.

                1. Evil, and still better off than with Allende.

        5. Yes, it is well documented. So is Allende’s assumptions of powers and authority that his position did not have, and the Legislature’s request for the Army to intervene.

          We might have impeached the sonofabitch. Chile had neglected to include any provision for impeachment in its constitution.

    2. management of factory production

      Yes, that’s what government is for.

      1. Every good Libertarian knows that the purpose for government is torturing and killing people en mass in a soccer stadium.

        1. Someone stepped on his poetry journals with a jackboot and smashed them into the mud.

  23. People will laugh about this, but I have no doubt that there are plenty of people that now this command room is possible using the latest technologies, scary stuff.

    1. You mean like the West Wing?

    2. This gives me a great idea for setting up the HQ for Socialistic Individualism.

      1. We, the Free Market Collectivists, are with you!

  24. What an interesting tid bit of history. Thanks for this.

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