PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Thursday, March 31, 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Is capitalism dying?+ News

Dear friends,
This Sunday we are discussing: Is capitalism dying?
An apt subject given the urgency to consume and consume. On the other
hand, we do live in times when capitalism is at its max. Indeed the news
this evening is that it will cost each person living in Ireland some 16
thousand euros to save the banking industry there.
So far we seem to be ok at the O'Connor's and starting at six pm gives
us a good period of time to be alone.
News and essay below,
Best
Lawrence
PS no news about Espacio Pozos.
---------Jim-------
Hi Lawrence,
with regards to the flat I mentioned on Sunday. The details are as follows:
It is located in Calle Miami on the corner with Calle Alcala.
The flat is 80 M2, has two bathrooms, three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining
area a Sitting room
and a terrace.
Heating is by gas (boiler located in the kitchen). The flat is well
communicated. Suanzes metro stop (line 5- green line) is 3 to 4 minutes
walk from the house. The Number 104 and 77 buses stop in front of the
house. Also the night bus N5 (Búho). There i a taxi rank in Ciudad
Lineal,which is about 5 to 10 minutes walk.
Alcala Norte is in walking distance also. This is a Shopping Mall which
has Cinemas and a supermarket.
The flat is bright and has some nice views of the park (Suanzes).
Anyone interested can call me at 639181866.
Regards,
Jim
------------------------Peter----------------------
Peter has asked me once again to remind you that he is looking for
someone to share his flat with in Mostoles close to public transport;
very good conditions. Central heating and central hot water. English
spoken at home if you wish. Single room still available. : tel 609257259

--------------Ian-----------
Here is a link to the job posting on Infojobs:
http://www.infojobs.net/madrid/inside-sales-software./of-i775b85eb174fa0b1663cf41bfa6afb

The company I work for is looking to employ an inside sales person
ASAP.. The person would need to be fluent in English at a minimum, with
other language abilities being a much wanted plus. Good languages to
have are German, French or Spanish. The job would involve working on the
telephone and email, corresponding with our resellers and helping to
process orders. They should have good computer skills (able to type, use
Outlook, Excel and Word) and ideally be smart (brains) and motivated.
The salary range is between 18-35K p.a on a permanent contract. The
salary offered to a candidate depends on their abilities and experience.
If they are intelligent, with various languages and are an eager go
getter then they will be at the 35K end of the scale. Alternatively, if
they are a school leaver, with limited experience and language ability
then the lower end would be where they would be at.
Who we hire will depend on the candidate, with the mix of abilities they
offer.
Remember, our company is based in a comfortable office, very close to
the north end of the Retiro park making for a nice central location to
work.
Anyone interested? Please pass this message on to all our friends.
Take care for now.

saludos,
Ian Cummings
m: +34 686966896 - e: ianrcummings@gmail.com
Yahoo IM: ianrcummings - Skype: ianrcummings

--------------------------------
Is capitalism dying?

At least commentators agree on two things about capitalism. The first is
that under capitalism the means of production are in private ownership.
And the second is that goods and services are supplied by the owners of
the means of production for a profit.
But defining capitalism is a much harder task as mentioned in the
Wikipedia article on the subject. The article lists seven main versions
of capitalism and even has a section for "others".
However to ask whether capitalism is dying, assumes two things: the
first is that capitalism exists and the second, there is something
seriously wrong with it. But even the question, "does capitalism
exists?" is philosophically flawed on the grounds that it assumes that
capitalism can exist. So the question we have to address ourselves first
is this: is it possible for capitalism to exist?
The favourite argument in support of capitalism is that it is more
efficient at creating wealth than any other political economic system.
But something might look good because the alternatives are really bad
and not necessarily because it is inherently good. A system that creates
some wealth is much better than a system that destroys wealth. The
problem here is that we really do not know what we are testing when we
say one system is good or bad since distribution systems are based of
subjective and relative value judgements. And, moreover, in reality we
exclude a lot a material facts from our evaluation. For example we don't
give a monetary value to pain and suffering to those who fail to succeed
under a given system.
Usually, today, this efficient creator of wealth argument rides piggy
back on the efficiency of competition. However, competition is not an
indigenous feature of capitalism but of nature. I won't therefore
discuss competition here. However, I would argue that competition in
capitalism exposes a serious philosophical flaw in the doctrine of
capitalism. It seems to me that competition is a very inefficient way of
employing capital since this adds additional costs to the owners of
production. Thus it costs more to generate profits. But as I said I am
not discussing competition.
So is it possible for capitalism to exist? Despite the sophisticated
rhetoric of such political economic systems as capitalism, communism and
socialism they all address the question of wealth distribution. It is
wealth in the form of wages or profits, that enables us to buy goods and
services. Good and services in themselves cost wealth and do not
generate profits; it is when we sell at a profit that they become the
means to wealth.
However, how we should distribute our wealth is a value judgement type
of question. The philosophical question is how can we distribute wealth
(or resources) that will make a positive difference to everyone? Or how
can we distribute scarce resources amongst everybody?
In other words, distribution issues are about exclusion of others ,
whereas, I would argue, the real philosophical test is the inclusion of
everyone. Hence, it is not a question of whether the means of production
are privately owned, but rather can anyone own the means of production.
The basic problem, as I see it, is that, given a state of social
standard of living there is no viable way of redistributing limited
wealth so that everyone enjoys a better life in real terms.
To use an analogy, the issue which nature presents us is not how to
divide the cake, but rather is the cake big enough so that everyone can
have a decent bite? Malthus got it right, it is just that those who
disagree with Malthus conveniently forget the millions who perish
unnoticed in Africa, Central Asia and maybe parts of Latin America, not
to mention the inequities in the rest of the world.
In a way the philosophical problem is not that capitalism is a failure,
and even if you like an unjust system, but rather that nature itself
seems to exclude justice from the system. Indeed justice is not done in
the real world, but we have to be very careful before we give up the
notion of justice. Careful because of those who might unwilling allow a
Trojan horse amongst our economic mist, such as another ism, and careful
for capitalism itself. Nature excludes justice because there is a
disequilibrium between what can be supplied now and those who want a
particular good or service.
Indeed, nature and capitalism present the consumer with a double hurdle.
The first is to accumulate enough money to participate in the market
(capitalism) and the second to acquire enough resources to supply what
the market wants at a profit (nature+capitalism). For example no matter
how much money you have, if your favourite cake maker does not supply to
part of the world because it is not profitable then you are out of the
market. Of course you can always argue that you have enough money to buy
your cake whatever the price. But then you are hardly in a market place.
Capitalism centres on the concept of private ownership. In capitalism
private ownership comes first and profits flow from that. But what
capitalist give little mention to, or maybe just assume it as given, is
that the notion of private ownership gives rise to private property
rights. So how can we speak of rights, especially property rights, if we
do not have a notion of justice.
Something is mine because we have a system that can determine what it is
for something to be mine. Contrary to the common belief, possession is
not two thirds of the law. So without a notion of justice we have two
options: if I take something that belongs to you then it now belongs to
me, or the other option is to prevent others from accessing my property.
But both options disadvantage capitalism enormously.
But the alternative to justice is equally unacceptable since the
alternative is maybe utilitarianism. But this does not solve much since
utilitarianism speaks of maximum number of happiness (happy people) and
not the maximum possible majority to be happy. Indeed today we do seem
to practice some form of utilitarianism because in most societies the
majority of wealth is held by not much more than 10 or 15 percent of the
population (I am being generous). Thus, if 15% of the population are
happy, utilitarianism has functioned according to specifications.
But these arguments are not evidence that capitalism does not exist,
what is real evidence is the way nature is, there will always be more
people who want to be capitalist than nature can support at any given
time. Thus the logical implication of this is that there comes a point
when it is just physically impossible to add another capitalist to the
illustrious roll of capitalists. So no matter how good capitalism is,
there are limits to how good it can be. Nature cannot accommodate
everyone at the same time; we can narrow the gap but never bridge it.
Even if, for the sake of argument, we turn a blind eye to these basic
issues about capitalism and assume that it is a practical doctrine at
least on paper, maybe even as practical as the Titanic looked practical
on paper, what are the chances of capitalism actually existing? Even if
we allow ourselves the luxury of calling a mixed economy a form of
capitalism.
Indeed, what do we understand by such terms as private ownership and
means of production? And from here, what do we mean by profit? It is
unfortunate that such political economic doctrines are couched in the
language of 19th century English. Of course, by private we are supposed
to mean exclude the state.
But what was a state in 19th Century Britain or France, is not what we
mean by state in twenty first century Spain or Germany. In the 19th
Century the state was more likely to mean, in real terms, the monarch
and the ruling classes. Today, the state is more likely to mean (at
least in western countries) an organisation that tries to maintain a
society in efficient harmony. In order words, a state is what stops us
from killing each other and from misappropriating each other's property
(vis: Libya and Iraq). Sure today we also have a ruling class but they
try to hassle the rest of society as little as possible or as delicately
as possible.
The problem with states, even if we accept that governments are the day
to day representatives of states, is that governments are not easily
given to motivation, efficiency and initiative. Maybe qualities which
are more fine tuned in a group of people who have to earn their living,
such as the private sector. Anyway, governments are more about managing
and maintaining order than creating things.
Even ownership is a vague term. Today, there are certain things or
activities which capitalists are incapable of managing at a profit or
will not be allowed to own. For example, exploding nuclear power
stations are not profit centres, and armies are too sensitive to leave
in the hands of a few whose only motive is money despite recent
experiments by the big super power.
The problem with the term "means of production" is that today that
production is more likely to depend on the intellectual prowess of the
labour force than their muscle power. As far as muscle power is
concerned, at least for this part of the century, China has become the
factory floor shop of the world. But even China will sooner or later
have to deal with the issue of the cake not being big enough.
So today the means of production depend even more on the expertise of
the work force, licensing of intellectual property and understanding the
market place. In other words, the means of production might be owned
privately, but not necessarily controlled by the owner or being capable
of being controlled by the owner. Never mind that in a successful
capitalist economy today your real assets, as the saying goes, walk out
of your front door every evening.
This means that if a capitalist is paying wages and not remunerating
skills and achievements the chances are that the means of production
might take a walk. Consider recent events in the baking sector, when
banks paid for greed as opposed for profits they single handily
bankrupted the whole banking sector of the world.
Don't forget that the disaster of the banking sector a few months back
was not that governments had to rescue a bankrupt sector or that banks
still paid huge bonuses, but rather that the banks were not lending to
each other or anyone else. In other words, the means of production were
not producing and owners were not paying wages (salaries) but rewarding
greed and the profits only looked good on paper in the same way that the
Titanic looked good on paper.
An associated notion of capitalism is capital. Indeed, capitalism
depends on property rights and market rights that require a fair
exchange of value for goods and services. The basic principles of
capitalism say nothing about capital. Capitalism assumes that the
private owners have the "cash" to buy the means of production. Of course
in the 19th century capitalism, although capitalism is much older than
that, many profits were the product of actually applying means of
production. However, today, spectacular profits can be achieved by
simply owning mineral and property rights; without even having to own a
single shovel.
The irony, it seems to me, is that capitalism is a doctrine on how to
distribute wealth, but property rights are a system on how to distribute
profits. Not only one does not need to own the means of production to
enjoy profits from property rights, but that property rights reflect the
amount of profits made (or expected) and not the production effort
needed. (Think of the Beatles, Microsoft and Petroleum producing countries.)
If capitalism does exits, then it seems to do so against all rational
logic. And if it is dying it is probably dying from natural causes as
much as self abuse. Unfortunately, like all value judgements, capitalism
is not immune from self abuse. And one of the ways capitalism can self
abuse itself is by neglecting capital in favour of short term profit.
But as I have just argued not all profits belong to those who owe the
means of production, but also to those who owe the property rights. And
to add insult to injury, the state not only taxes the profits and wages,
but also decides the level of the playing field.
So to conclude, if at face value the best case scenario for today's
capitalist is a world that is determined to undermine the wealth created
by the owners of the means of production, what kind of political
economic system do we really have in place?
Take care
from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Is capitalism dying?+ News

Thursday, March 24, 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Arrogance + News

Meet O'Connor's at 6, essay, + NEWS
Dear Friends,
First of all, I would like to thank Diana, Marga and Paloma (in
alphabetical order) for sending me the Spanish version of the email to
the Director of EspacioPozas 14. I sent it last night and have not had a
reply. In the meantime thanks once again to Maria for suggesting the place.
I will also write to Nacha later on and we still have Patatus as a
possible option.
Last Sunday we were about seventeen of us at O'Connor's and had the end
corner all for ourselves. The fact that there were no sports events did
help a lot.
So this Sunday we will meet again at O'connors to discuss Arrogance. As
I try to argue in my short essay maybe there is more to arrogance than
just a person being unpleasant. Upon reflection, in this day and age we
are not short of a few arrogant people on the international arena.
In the meantime I have the following news items:
Jim has a flat for rent, Peter is still looking for a flatmate, Ian has
a vacancy at his company and Miguel has sent me details about the next
Maths tertulia.
---------Jim-------
Hi Lawrence,
with regards to the flat I mentioned on Sunday. The details are as follows:
It is located in Calle Miami on the corner with Calle Alcala.
The flat is 80 M2, has two bathrooms, three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining
area a Sitting room
and a terrace.
Heating is by gas (boiler located in the kitchen). The flat is well
communicated. Suanzes metro stop (line 5- green line) is 3 to 4 minutes
walk from the house. The Number 104 and 77 buses stop in front of the
house. Also the night bus N5 (Búho). There i a taxi rank in Ciudad
Lineal,which is about 5 to 10 minutes walk.
Alcala Norte is in walking distance also. This is a Shopping Mall which
has Cinemas and a supermarket.
The flat is bright and has some nice views of the park (Suanzes).
Anyone interested can call me at 639181866.
Regards,
Jim
------------------------Peter----------------------
Peter has asked me once again to remind you that he is looking for
someone to share his flat with in Mostoles close to public transport;
very good conditions. Central heating and central hot water. English
spoken at home if you wish. Single room still available. : tel 609257259

--------------Ian-----------
Here is a link to the job posting on Infojobs:
http://www.infojobs.net/madrid/inside-sales-software./of-i775b85eb174fa0b1663cf41bfa6afb
The company I work for is looking to employ an inside sales person
ASAP.. The person would need to be fluent in English at a minimum, with
other language abilities being a much wanted plus. Good languages to
have are German, French or Spanish. The job would involve working on the
telephone and email, corresponding with our resellers and helping to
process orders. They should have good computer skills (able to type, use
Outlook, Excel and Word) and ideally be smart (brains) and motivated.
The salary range is between 18-35K p.a on a permanent contract. The
salary offered to a candidate depends on their abilities and experience.
If they are intelligent, with various languages and are an eager go
getter then they will be at the 35K end of the scale. Alternatively, if
they are a school leaver, with limited experience and language ability
then the lower end would be where they would be at.
Who we hire will depend on the candidate, with the mix of abilities they
offer.
Remember, our company is based in a comfortable office, very close to
the north end of the Retiro park making for a nice central location to work.
Anyone interested? Please pass this message on to all our friends.
Take care for now.

saludos,
Ian Cummings
m: +34 686966896 - e: ianrcummings@gmail.com
Yahoo IM: ianrcummings - Skype: ianrcummings
----------------------Maths Tertulia---------------------
(Miguel has also included a reading list and links which I will post of
the blog: philomadrid.blogspot.com)
Estimado tertuliano,
La conferencia de Miguel Ángel Madruga del pasado Martes fue muy
interesante y amena, así como la tertulia que siguió. Como él mismo
comenta, después de un aperitivo histórico, entramos en el plato fuerte:
la máquina de cifrar Enigma, con su estructura y funcionamiento.
Le agradecemos el esfuerzo de preparación, que a juzgar por lo
presentado ha sido considerable, así como las referencias que nos envía
sobre la historia de la criptografía y que adjunto.
Damos también las gracias a Roberto Álvarez Chust por el proyector, al
Ateneo de Madrid por dejarnos la sala y a Juan Valentín por sus
gestiones para ello.

Saludos cordiales,
J. Miguel
P.S.: Si quieres impartir una conferencia de contenido matemático
envíame un mensaje de correo para tratar los detalles. En particular, si
la conferencia trata la relación entre determinismo y aleatoriedad será
especialmente bienvenida, ya que en la tertulia se ha mostrado interés
por ello.
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro mensaje con
"Baja" en el campo "Asunto".
-----------------------end news--------------------

Best
Lawrence

Arrogance

To accuse someone of arrogance is not very nice. However, the irony is
that such an insult would have the same effect on the person as water
would have on a duck's back.
The meaning of arrogance captures a range of concepts including pride,
self importance, feeling of superiority, self worth, and a sense that
one is better than others. And of course we have no doubt in identifying
arrogant people.
However, what makes a person from being an unpleasant person to being an
arrogant? And why should arrogance attract such a extreme disapprobation
and censure?
But such ideas as importance, pride, worth, better than others are in
themselves neither negative nor objects of disapproval. For example, we
expect someone to feel proud if they are awarded a coveted prize. Indeed
we would accuse them of being ungrateful if they do not show a degree of
pride in receiving the prize. And of course, some people are just better
than others, in what they do, their personality, their abilities and so
on. It does not mean, however, that just because some people are better
than others in some things those others are somehow a lesser person or
an inferior person in the same way that a frozen pizza is an inferior
pizza from one prepared by a Neapolitan pizzaiolo in a wood oven.
On the other hand, pride, worth, importance and superiority are
qualities which by definition are relative to other people. John is
better because we think that he has qualities that are more desrable
than those exhibited by Betty. Not only does this language imply a value
judgement on the part of society, but more importantly these qualities
confer social hierarchical powers. In a world where hierarchy and power
are the norm the CEO of a bank is regarded as being more important that
the street cleaner.
Maybe it is because these qualities confer real powers and authority in
our society that society regulates them and on who to confer them. Thus
by creating the term arrogance, as a term to disapprove of someone who
confers these labels on themselves, shows how important these qualities
are. And not only that, but that these qualities are conferred on us by
society suggests that maybe there is also some democratic process going
on here. We agree that someone ought to feel proud or that someone is
indeed better than the rest of us.
Maybe there is even something else going on. When we feel that someone
should feel proud in receiving a coveted prize are we also implying that
they also have some sort of moral duty to feel proud? Maybe a moral duty
that arises from the fact that they were chosen from a group of equally
suitable candidates? Thus the morality arises from respect towards those
who were not chosen.
When someone expresses self pride or expresses a feeling of self
importance we are maybe trying to imply that these people have stolen or
misappropriated social qualities which can only be conferred by society.
Thus when someone says or behaves as if they are more important than
others without having first been invested by society of such qualities
they are exercising a power which they are not entitled to have. They
are appropriating privileges that only society can confer on its members.
But arrogance goes beyond the meaning of not being entitled to some
quality. Indeed I would argue that what really makes arrogance a
despicable title to be bestowed on someone is that it is usually also
associated with actions and behaviours that are unjust, unfair, bad and
maybe also evil.
It not only that an arrogant person feels superior that makes this
person repugnant but the fact that their relationship with others leaves
no doubt in the minds of others that those others have no human worth or
their only worth is one of servitude. It is the lack of respect toward
those who are doing, say a menial job, that makes the high flyer arrogant.
Thus, when someone thinks they are superior, because they have a certain
racial background, the issue of arrogance is not a question of race but
rather the race of the other person would exclude that person from being
treated as an equal, indeed, treated as a person at all. And therefore
not worthy of the respect and courteously of an equal and a peer.
My argument, is that arrogance is an unacceptable personality trait not
because it is usually associated with certain qualities such as, pride,
importance, superior, but rather arrogance implies a behaviour that
excludes others a priori (so to speak). Thus an arrogant teacher is
arrogant not because they have superior knowledge than the pupil but
because the teacher does not accept or believe that the pupil might have
anything of relevance to say about the discipline the teacher excels in.
In a way this implied meaning of exclusion in arrogance is the first
stage of why arrogance is an undesirable personality trait. Excluding
others, and what they have to say, implies that what we have to say is
the truth or the source of ultimate wisdom. If a mathematician believes
that the 18 year old undergraduate has nothing of worth to say about a
mathematical problem, that leaves the lecturer the only one with the
truth about mathematics.
The lecturer might be right about the mathematical problem and the
undergraduate wrong, but in a normal social interaction we expect the
teacher to listen to the student and then explain why they are wrong or
why they should not pursue that line of thinking. Maybe as an
undergraduate they are not being evaluated on whether they can solve
long standing problems in mathematics but whether they can understand
what the key problems are in mathematics. Indeed, it is of course
arrogant of universities not to spell out the scope of why students are
at university in the first place.
And finally, the ultimate stage of unpleasantness of arrogance is that
the arrogant person will easily lose sight of what is the right thing to
do, and the wrong thing to do, and I do not necessarily mean this in a
moral sense.
Thus someone might progress from having feelings of superiority to
acting on the belief that they only know what is the right thing to do,
on to the ultimate extreme situation of what they do is by definition
the right thing that has to be done.
And when the whole gamut of hideousness of arrogance is expressed by a
person that person changes from being a social pariah to being a danger
to society. In politics we usually call these people partisans, tyrants,
dictators or mad dogs.
Take care
Lawrence
from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Arrogance + News

Thursday, March 17, 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Apocalypse + NEWS please read

Meeting details, Job offer by Ian, Maths Tertulia by Miguel and draft
letter for Espacio Pozas 14
Dear friends,
I think that we can try meeting again at O'Connor's in Alonso Martinez.
It is not the perfect place but better than nothing. Anyway, I am told
that this Sunday there are no important games so maybe we can have the
back section of the room.
If things don't work out this Sunday we'll find another temp place.
So, this Sunday we are discussing Apocalypse and we are meeting at 6:00pm.
I have written the draft letter to the director of Espacio Pozas, as
Maria was asked to do, and kindly ask you for your feedback and any
offer to convert these ideas into Spanish; not necessarily translation!
In the meantime Ian has a job offer in his company and I include his
email below. Miguel has also sent me details of a Maths tertulia Tuesday
next week. And Peter is still looking for a flat mate.
Best and see you Sunday
Lawrence
Meeting O' Connors Irish Pub in Almagro, Alonso Martinez at 6:00PM

---draft email to Espacio Pozas -----
The Director of Espacio Pozas 14,
We are a group, PhiloMadrid, who meet on Sundays to discuss in English
philosophical and social issues and we are now looking for a suitable
place to meet for about 15-25 people usually between 6pm till 8:30-9pm.
We understand that Espacio Pozas 14 has facilities where cultural and
social groups can meet for their activities.
We started meeting some eight years ago in a local pub but unfortunately
we were asked not to meet there anymore.
Our meetings are held in English and everyone is welcome to attend and
participate. And although we call ourselves a philosophy group we
discuss general social and human issues, for example: friendship, crime,
do we exits? We have recently discussed The sociology of work today and
our next meeting is about Apocalypse. Most times the chair, and
sometimes a member of the group, write an essay on the subject.
Subjects are chosen by a democratic vote and usually must have a
philosophical implication. However, we have agreed to exclude any topics
relating to Spanish political and religious issues. The two other norms
we apply are that we respect each other's opinion and buy a drink if we
meet in commercial establishment.
The background of our group is a cross section of the population of
Madrid from professional people to unemployed and of course a regular
attendance from English native speakers who are visiting or living in
Madrid. However, the most important aspect is that everyone is welcome
to meet the group and participate if they wish.
Our group is not only an opportunity for people to discuss issues in
philosophy but to do it in English and maybe practice their English
speaking skills. However, neither a background in academic philosophy
nor a high level of English is requires.
Finally, it is important to point out that we are not affiliated to any
institution nor group in Spain or abroad and will not agree to join or
affiliate ourselves with any institution or group. And our main
objective is to meet on Sundays evening to discuss issues we are
interested in and of course to meet friends.
Our blog is: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
We hope that you can help us allocate facilities at Espacio Pozas 14 for
our group,
Thank you for your time
Lawrence JC Baron for the PhiloMadrid group.

----------------- Job offer by Ian --------------
Here is a link to the job posting on Infojobs:
http://www.infojobs.net/madrid/inside-sales-software./of-i775b85eb174fa0b1663cf41bfa6afb
The company I work for is looking to employ an inside sales person ASAP.
The person would need to be fluent in English at a minimum, with other
language abilities being a much wanted plus. Good languages to have are
German, French or Spanish. The job would involve working on the
telephone and email, corresponding with our resellers and helping to
process orders. They should have good computer skills (able to type, use
Outlook, Excel and Word) and ideally be smart (brains) and motivated.
The salary range is between 18-35K p.a on a permanent contract. The
salary offered to a candidate depends on their abilities and experience.
If they are intelligent, with various languages and are an eager go
getter then they will be at the 35K end of the scale. Alternatively, if
they are a school leaver, with limited experience and language ability
then the lower end would be where they would be at.
Who we hire will depend on the candidate, with the mix of abilities they
offer.
Remember, our company is based in a comfortable office, very close to
the north end of the Retiro park making for a nice central location to work.
Anyone interested? Please pass this message on to all our friends.
Take care for now.

saludos,
Ian Cummings
m: +34 686966896 - e: ianrcummings@gmail.com
Yahoo IM: ianrcummings - Skype: ianrcummings
----------------------Maths Tertulia---------------------
Estimado tertuliano,
El próximo Martes tendremos Tertulia de Matemáticas en el Ateneo de
Madrid, con la conferencia Criptografía Clásica, de Escítala a Enigma
impartida por Miguel Ángel Madruga
(http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/22-3-2011)
Aprovecho la ocasión para enviarte un cordial saludo,
J.Miguel
P.S.: Si quieres impartir una conferencia de contenido matemático
envíame un mensaje de correo para tratar los detalles.
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro con "Baja" en
el campo "Asunto" del mensaje.

----------------------Peter looking for a flat mate---------------
Peter has asked me once again to remind you that he is looking
for someone to share his flat with in Mostoles close to public
transport; very good conditions. Central heating and central hot water.
There two rooms to rent out: a single and a double: tel 609257259 (LJCB
Note: one of the rooms might be taken, not sure which one)..
from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, Apocalypse + NEWS please read

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, + NEWS please read

Dear friends,

The latest news about the meetings is as follows.

Last Sunday Diana approached the manager of O' Connors Irish Pub in
Almagro, Alonso Martinez, about holding meetings there and he agreed in
principle but as I shall explain with some provisos. In fact last
Sunday, after Cafe Comercial, we went over to O'Connors to check it out.

Indeed we have agreed to meet this coming Sunday there at 6pm sharp.
There are the details. The space we are allowed to occupy holds about 15
people or so, if we squeeze we might pack a few more of us.

Unfortunately, he cannot reserve the room for us since we are not really
a big group nor can we guarantee a large number 30+. Hence, this is why
we need to be there not later than six in order to make sure we occupy
the corner for ourselves.

We can now take it as given that all those attending must consume
something and the feeling I got was that they expect a large proportion
of us to consume more than one drink.

And should we hold our meetings there the usual football exclusion
clause applies.

Well I (we) agreed to meet there this Sunday to see how it goes. So the
details are O'Connors at six pm.

We also agreed to discuss the following topics:

Change
Rejoicing in Change
Group Think
Ethical Codes
Shame and Shamelessness.

My personal impression is that this part of the room is quite cosy, but
of course the space available for us is rather limited. More importantly
I couldn't help noticing that by 8:30pm, last Sunday, a number of people
were already using the unoccupied the part of the place not used by us.
We can therefore assume that the pub is quite busy and we'll be, so to
speak, commenting with this regular business.

The second part of the news is that NACHA (thank you Asu), at
www.Nacha.es contacted me and that I agreed to meet her this Friday at
10pm to check out her pub. So if any one wants to join me and Isabel
we'll meet at 9:50pm outside her pub at Nacha Pub, c/ Monteleon 5. The
street is off M Malasaña check the web site for directions.

OK, here is the damage!

From the description Nacha gave me the pub is only open Friday and
Saturday, so she will be opening it specifically for us on Sunday if we
decide to go there for the meetings. The pub is organised for events so
there are enough seats, there is also a projector and an intenet
connection. She mentioned the use of a microwave but I'm not exactly
sure about this. Of course there is no football exclusion clause.

However, to make the whole venture viable for her we need to consume the
equivalent of 100 to 110 euros per meeting. By opening the pub she
incurs a fixed costs which she needs to cover. So that the bottom line!

But of course before considering this option I/we/some of us have to
visit the pub and confirm the conditions.

In any event as always if you have any comments please let me know. If I
get enough comments I might send out an other email late Friday or Saturday.

In the meantime there are other options we might still consider.


In the meantime don't forget the meeting with friends on Thursday at
Moor's and I think Peter is still looking for a flatmate.

Best

Lawrence


from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, + NEWS please read

Friday, March 04, 2011

From Lawrence, re Philosophy meetings feedback + meet this Sunday

Dear Friends,
First of all, thank you for your support and encouragement following our
eviction from Molly Malone's. I certainly did not expect so much support
and so many replies and comments.
Indeed I promised you that I will send out the replies but till now I've
got about seven pages full of your comments. It might therefore not be
practical to send out such a long text via email.
I was also thinking about this and on second thoughts it might be
prudent that I will keep these comments within the group. So basically
what I'll do is to put them on a private document on Google Doc and if
you wish to read them I'll send you the link or the text itself in an
email. I should have it done by tomorrow evening.
TO BUSINESS
Some of you have personally apologised to me for not having consumed
anything during the meetings. Although I am touched with these apologies
I was not expecting any apologies. However, I am accepting these
apologies on behalf of the group. I personally never stipulated that
people should consume anything although the subject was heavily
discussed in the past.
And moreover I made the assumption, the wrong one as it turns out, that
the bar next door was part of the MM establishment. They are connected,
but as they say in business, they are two independent profit centres.
So lesson number one seems to be, perceptions are deceptive. Or to put
it in a common language, if it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck and
looks like a duck, it might still not be a duck.
The general consensus seems to be that the owners of MM did have a valid
point and were more or less right to stop us from meeting there. Some
pointed out that this situation was foreseeable, others that if
customers were leaving because there were no stools upstairs then there
was only one possible outcome, the present one.
A couple of you also told me that they had similar problems with other
groups they belong to or organised. So now we belong to that exclusive
set of groups that have been evicted from their adopted bar or pub!
A number of you also said that someone from the pub staff should have
come downstairs to take orders. Some even argued that it is the business
of the pub to go and get orders. While others said that one of us should
have taken charge of organising an order and get the drinks from up stairs.
The second lesson seems to be that even with a ready made market,
capitalism still needs to "extractus digitus." Over the years we
averaged between thirty people and more, to about twenty people these
past couple of years. Or to put it in simple language, capitalists
should capitalise, and philosophers should philosophise.
Other comments included that people should have arrived early so they
could get the drinks on time; others pointed out that it took too long
to be served upstairs. But as the manager of the pub pointed out, and I
totally agree, it was the responsibility of those who came to the
meeting to get their drinks. Some of you also reminded me that we had
already discussed this question of consumption in the past, so we knew
what we had to do.
As I pointed out in my email, there was not question of us going back to
MM or to negotiate anything with them. So that option is no longer
available for us even if MM was an ideal place.
The moral of the story is that if you are going to be a puritan, make
sure you have a Mayflower ready.
MY OPINION ABOUT ALL THIS
I purposely have not expressed my opinion on the matter in order not to
prejudge the situation and partly to have time to think about it. After
all, I am not the only one who enjoys the meetings and with out you I
wouldn't have anything to enjoy. Hence your opinion matters.
My fatal mistake, and my ultimate responsibility, was to assume that the
bar next door was part of the MM set up. I was not given any hint or
indication by anyone that this was not the case and the
face-value-evidence all pointed in this direction. I mean staff from the
other bar regularly came down to MM, and vice versa, and the other
comings and goings from the two bars. But then again I never did confirm
my assumption.
I do not hold myself responsible for not telling people to consume. The
main reason is that I hate telling people what to do, we had discussed
this in the past, we're all adults and equally important, we were
averaging, as group, about twenty or so people EVERY Sunday. We are the
philosophers not the business people. QED
This of course does not meant that I am not responsible for what
happened, nor that I am not extremely grateful for the support MM gave
me and gave us over the years. That goes without saying and many of you
expressed these very same thoughts and quite rightly too.
THE FUTURE
The general consensus seems to be that we should do our best to try and
continue the meetings. The other consensus is that we really have no
choices but to impose a charge/consumption. Indeed, Ignacio proposed a
new name for us: Philomadrid/Philomadrink. I think it's great. So in the
sprit of the new-money-making-age, these names are the intellectual
property of the respective authors and if they are used without
permission, well you know the rest. I will use my proceedings to buy a pub!
Back to business, we really have no choice but to require that we all
consume something. So the issue is not whether we consume something but
how much.
However, I do have some comments to make. I am concerned that someone
might not come to the meetings because they might be having cash flow
issues. In this day and age people do have cash flow issues. More
realistically, the requirement to buy a drink might also put off some
people.
However, I really do not think this is going to be a real problem. And
in any case it can easily be solved.
I will therefore assume that there is still a realistic interest in
continuing to meeting.

THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that many of you have offered to help in which ever way
I need help and also suggested places. So far we have the following
possibilities:
Asun suggested Nacha and Circulomulier
Many suggested Cafe Commercial and Carlos offered to make an
introduction to the management there. Mike also offered to come with me
and talk to the mngt at CC.
Encarna suggested James Joyce
Julian suggested Abrasador
Miguel suggested El Círculo Salmantino and gave the name of the manager
there.
Jesus suggested Cafe Agenjo
One thing is for sure, this is going to be one hell of a pub crawl in
the history of philosophy to check all these places out. Maybe we can
start this Sunday with Cafe Commerical, unless Asun has some more info
on her suggestions. see below.
My criteria for a place to meet would be more or less the following:
- A place with enough seating for all,
- A place with minimum interruptions such as piped music, passers by, or
too many on lookers,
- Reasonably priced,
- Quite central.
- My main concern is that we can speak freely within the parameters of
respect for each other and caution with local politics.
THIS SUNDAY'S MEETING
Last Sunday many suggested that we should still meet this Sunday and go
for a drink. I suggest we meet at 6:30pm out side Cafe Commerical and
take it from there depending on the situation at the time. And because
it will probably be cold this Sunday we'll wait ten to fifteen minutes
and if you turn up late send me a message -606081813- and I'll let you
know where we are. A message is much better than a call for me.
In the meantime, keep your comments and suggestions coming and if you
want to read the comments let me know.
And finally don't forget that Peter is still looking for a flat mate and
Ignacio still offers the best tertulia in town on Thursday night.

Best and hear from you
Lawrence
From Lawrence, re Philosophy meetings feedback + meet this Sunday

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From Lawrence, philosophy meetings (repeat) + Ignacio’s tertulia

Dear Friends,

As I mentioned on Monday, I'm sending this email again just in case
someone did not get it Monday night.

I have already received many comments and also possible options and
suggestions of where to go. But I will report back in email tomorrow night.

In the meantime don't forget Ignacio's tertulia tomorrow:


Tertulia in English with Ignacio and friends: Every Thursday, from 19:30
to 21h, at Moore's Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal).
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

and that Peter is still looking for a flatmate.

Best

Lawrence


Dear friends,


Following the announcement yesterday evening that we cannot meet at
Molly Malone's any more, today I managed to speak to the manager of the
pub and he kindly explained the situation. I will give you the facts as
they were told to me:


- The management of the pub were not happy that many of us did not
buy drinks from the bar. However, this in its self was not the biggest
issue for not allowing to meet there any more.

- They were concerned that during busy periods on Sunday evenings
many of us were occupying stools when they did not buy anything and yet
customers upstairs left the pub because there were no stools for them to
sit.


- They said that many people only asked for a glass of water, and
that some also asked for crisps to go with the water.

- They resented the fact that after the meeting people did not stay
at the pub to buy drinks there. I pointed out that I was under the
impression that the bar next door was part of the pub management, but
apparently they are under different management and therefore not
financially connected.


- The most serious objection of all was, however, that after the
meeting many people went to other bars in the area.


I think that in the circumstances it is only fair that I should solicit
your opinion, feedback, suggestions and any other comments. I will
report back on Thursday which I will, of course, do in an anonymous
manner. So please you can be as honest as you care or wish to be.

Finally, I will send out this email again tomorrow just in case someone
does not receive it tonight.

Looking forward to your comments

Best

Lawrence

From Lawrence, philosophy meetings (repeat) + Ignacio's tertulia

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